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NORTHWEST ARKANSAS AUDUBON SOCIETY

The Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society is a registered non-profit organization serving the four-county region of northwest Arkansas -- Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties, committed to Preserving the Natural World in Northwest Arkansas through Education, Environmental Study and Habitat Protection.

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NWAAS MEMBERSHIP REPORT DECEMBER 2016




NORTHWEST ARKANSAS AUDUBON SOCIETY

2017 FIELD TRIPS & BIRDING CALENDAR



Wilson’s Snipe in ditched spring run at Craig State Fish Hatchery in Centerton, Arkansas

Image courtesy of Joan Reynolds

All NWAAS field trips are free and open to the public. We always welcome new members, but membership in NWAAS is not required for participation. We try to make our field trips accessible to everyone, all ages, abilities, interests. Beginning birders are always welcome. We have field trips on Saturdays and Sundays to accommodate different schedules. We try to arrange carpools where possible.


For maps and more information about these places, check the Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society web site http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/ and the section “Places to bird in northwest Arkansas” (under Menu on upper left side of the home page).


If you are interested in being added to the NWAAS email list for updates on field trips and other society events, please send a message to: joeneal@uark.edu. Some of the information on the trips below can change, so additional details & updates about trips are sent via the email prior to the announced date -- check NWAAS facebook for the latest.


SAFETY FIRST, ALWAYS! Our field trips are open to everyone. We try to warn about any special dangers that might be encountered, but neither NWAAS nor individual field trip leaders assume responsibility for personal safety. If you have special needs, or special concerns, please ask the field trip leader before the trip starts. We do not knowingly place anyone in danger on any field trip. We count on those who attend to keep trips safe for everyone.


2017 FIELD TRIP SCHEDULE


JANUARY

CANCELLED: The Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society field trip to Rocky Branch Park on Beaver Lake scheduled for Saturday January 21, 2017, is CANCELLED. However, on the same day and nearby, Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area will be celebrating Wonder of Winter Wildlife with a variety of programs throughout the day. From 9:00 to 10:30. See below:

 

Saturday January 21, 2017. Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area will be celebrating Wonder of Winter Wildlife with a variety of programs throughout the day. From 9:00 to 10:30, birds will be mist-netted at Hobbs Visitor Center as part of “Birds and Breakfast” with opportunity for children to release the birds and get a certificate for the release. Joe Neal will present a powerpoint program "Winter Birds of Beaver Lake and Hobbs" in the Visitor Center at 1:30.This is followed by the always fascinating Lynn Sciumbato with hawks and owls from Morning Star Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. To get the flavor of what Lynn has in store, check this: http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/morning-star.html

 

Free and open to the public. You do not have to be a member to participate. There
are also additional aspects to the day long event at Hobbs.


FEBRUARY

Saturday February 4, 2017. Eagle Watch Nature Trail on SWEPCO Lake just west of Gentry. Meet in the parking lot at 9 AM. Co-leader is Terry Stanfill, who manages EW. There is a short walk on the trail through open field habitat to a viewing platform with good potential to see Bald Eagles, various species of hawks and sparrows, ducks and other water birds. This is also an opportunity to see the new pavilion designed to provide high quality views of the lake. After this, we may travel a short distance to find more wintering eagles wintering on former Round Prairie. More information about Eagle Watch at: http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/placestobird.htm


February 17-20, 2017. Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). You can participate in this count anywhere. For details, check here: http://www.audubon.org/content/about-great-backyard-bird-count


Saturday, February 18, 2017 NWAAS and others will participate in a field trip at Devil’s Den State Park as part of the park’s GBBC effort. Meet near Lee Creek bridge in the park at 9 AM. Everyone is welcome.


Saturday EVENING February 25, 2017. (Saturday EVENING) NWAAS will host an American Woodcock field trip to Lake Wedington WMA in the Ozark NF west of Fayetteville. Meet at 5:30 PM (need to be on time). Field trip led by woodcock expert Dr David Krementz UA-Fayetteville and his graduate students who will tell us a lot about woodcocks at the parking site. The 15,000 acre Wedington Unit is designated as an Urban Forest. Consider a flashlight, don’t wear bright clothes, walking shoes ok. We will wait for the woodcock displays to begin near and shortly after sunset. Also, lots of other birds are in the area to enjoy during the wait. Overall, this should be a fairly easy trip, including those with walking impairments. The woodcock displays should be viewable/audible near where we park. If you need more information can also call 479 521 1858. DIRECTIONS: We are going to same fields as last year, on the south side of Highway 16 and west of the lake. From the main entrance to Lake Wedington Rec. Area, travel west on Highway 16 for 1.9 miles. The parking area is directly across from a barn with a metal roof that is in disrepair and a 2-story house (GPS: 36 05 58.34 N and 94 24 30.94 W). If this doesn’t fit your schedule: woodcocks dance in many open fields, including those at Lake Fayetteville. In recent years, woodcocks have displayed immediately WEST of the Environmental Study Center and on the disk golf course.


MARCH

Saturday March 18, 2017. Trip to mature shortleaf pine habitat in the Shores Lake-Fern area of Ozark National Forest, then down into the western Arkansas River valley, including visits to Frog Bayou WMA and Arkansas River. Leader is Bill Beall, veteran birder from Ft Smith. We will be seeking Brown-headed Nuthatches and other birds typical of pine forests and later, birds of ponds, river, and agricultural fields in the valley. Meet at 9 AM at the Shores Lake picnic area entrance on the west side of the lake. You can show up earlier if you wish. It will be easy to tailor this day to your own time schedule. As always, you are welcome to leave or join whatever suits your schedule. http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/placestobird.htm


APRIL

Wattle Hollow Retreat Center probably early April (date to be announced).


Saturday April 22, 2017. From Botanical Garden of the Ozarks to Mulhollan Blind on Lake Fayetteville. Join a leisurely walk of slightly more than 1 mile. Meet at 9 AM in the parking lot adjacent BGO.

Sunday April 30, 2017. Ninestone Land Trust in Carroll County. Meet at Ninestone by 9 AM. Fun casual hike where we will identify birds and wildflowers, enjoy Piney Creek and soaring birds, picturesque bluffs, visit glade restoration areas, identify rare flowers. Bring something for a relaxing potluck at noon overlooking the famous waterfall. This can be a peak time during spring bird migration. More information at http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/placestobird.htm



MAY


Saturday May 6, 2017. Field trip during Birder Weekend at Devil’s Den State Park.Devil’s Den hosts all kinds of programs with bird themes that are free and open to the public over the weekend, May 5-7. On Saturday, meet at Devil’s Den in parking area on south end of Lee Creek bridge at 9 AM for this easy and often birdy walk in the middle of the northward spring migration. Here is some more general information about birding the Den: Devil's Den State Park.pdf. Check with the Den for a full schedule for Birder Weekend.

May 12-13, 2017. Arkansas Audubon Society Spring convention will be held May 12-13, 2017, at Mount Magazine State Park. There are many field trips associated with this exciting meeting. Check out more details here: http://www.arbirds.org/



Saturday and Sunday May 13-14, 2017 (probable dates). International Migratory Bird Day in Benton and Washington counties, with additional counts in at least Carroll County. Coordinated by Mike Mlodinow for Washington and Benton counties. For more information or to participate, contact mamlod@hotmail.com.



Saturday May 20, 2017. Siloam Springs City Lake. Meet 9 AM in the parking area off Dawn Hill East Road on the lake’s south side. Nesting Baltimore Orioles, Warbling Vireos, Red-headed Woodpeckers, and other birds. Numerous native flowers. Slow easy walk to explore this approximately 60-acre lake, an impoundment of Flint Creek.

JUNE

Sunday June 4, 2017. Cave Mountain and the upper Buffalo River in Newton County. Get ready for “warbler neck.” The focus is on nesting birds in Ozark forests, including warblers: Cerulean, Hooded, Black-and-white, Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern Parula, all possible. We will inspect an amazing flora, too, like Pawpaws and Umbrella Magnolias. Meet at the Boxley Bridge at 9 AM. More information at: http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/placestobird.htm


JULY

Saturday July 8, 2017. Chesney Prairie Natural Area near Siloam Springs. See the mid to late summer flora of the Tallgrass Prairie, including blazing stars, other flowers, always fascinating pollinating insects that crowd the flowers of Rattlesnake Masters and various milkweeds, plus open country birds like American Kestrels, Dickcissels, and probably Loggerhead Shrikes. Meet at Chesney at 9 AM. Information about Chesney at: http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/placestobird.htm


Saturday July 22, NWAAS membership meeting.

2:00 PM, Hobbs State Park Visitors Center.

The NATIVE Project: Growing the future of Arkansas’s prairies

Audubon  Arkansas’s  Native  Agriculture  to  InVigorate  Ecosystems (NATIVE)  project  is  focused  on  training  underserved  farmers in Arkansas to grow  local  genotype  native  warm  season grasses and wildflowers for seed production. This bird-friendly crop is critical to the restoration of
tallgrass  prairie  habitat  in  Arkansas’s four prairie regions.  Dan will  talk  about  the project’s successes and challenges, as well as how this project will help birds on a landscape-scale.

Dr. Dan Scheiman is Bird Conservation Director for Audubon Arkansas, a state office of the National Audubon Society.  Dan has a B.S. from Cornell University, M.S. from Eastern Illinois University, and Ph.D. from Purdue University.  He and his staff monitor birds and other wildlife, restore wildlife habitat, and help Arkansans improve their local environments.  He has been birding for over 25 years.  In the 12 years he has lived in Arkansas he has seen 360 of the 418 bird species documented in the state.

Dan Scheiman, Ph.D.
Bird Conservation Director
Audubon Arkansas
4500 Springer Blvd.
Little Rock, AR 72206
501-244-2229
dscheiman@audubon.org


AUGUST

Saturday August 26, 2017. Craig State Fish Hatchery at Centerton. Meet in the parking lot at the hatchery at 9 AM. The hatchery has been designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Arkansas. Numerous shorebird species are headed south at this time of year after nesting in the far north. Many species stop on mudflats provided by drained fish ponds. Most folks will be on foot, but those with mobility impairments are welcome to drive along with the group.


SEPTEMBER

Sunday September 10, 2017. Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area. Meet at 9 AM in the parking lot for Sinking Stream Trail and Historic Van Winkle Trail. Both share the parking area on highway 12 east of Rogers. Spotted Jewelweed is dense along the spring runs, especially in Van Winkle. As this is peak for southward migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, they may be numerous in the flowering jewelweed. Other interesting native flowers here, too, including Great Blue Lobelia. These are both relatively easy and often birdy walks (each about 0.5 miles) with numerous interesting native plants. Historic Van Winkle Trail is accessible for those with mobility impairments.


OCTOBER

Sunday October 8, 2017. Ninestone Land Trust in Carroll County. No finer spot to see fall in the Ozarks plus birds typical of the region. Meet at Ninestone by 9 AM. Easy hike, bluffs, waterfalls. Bring something to share for a fun social pot lunch at noon in front of waterfalls. Info: http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/placestobird.htm


NOVEMBER


Saturday evening November 4, 2017. Field trip to Ozark Natural Science Center for
trapping and banding Northern Saw-whet Owls. We are invited to join Mitchell Pruitt,
Kim Smith and others working on this owl project. This is expected to be the
migration peak, based upon existing records. Meeting time will be around 7 PM. More
details will be provided as we get closer to the date.


Saturday November 4 and Saturday November 18, 2017. Loon migration cruises on Beaver
Lake. The cruises will be Saturday Nov 4 and Saturday Nov 18, starting time 10 AM
each day, from Rocky Branch Marina. They will be offered by Hobbs State
Park-Conservation Area, following the same format they use for their popular winter
Bald Eagle cruises. There are about 20 seats on the boat. The cost is $10 per person
(cash, check, or credit card at registration). These cruises are limited to adults.
Hobbs provides life jackets that must be worn by all participants. Cruises will
cover a broad area of the lake from Rocky Branch marina. Each cruise is about
2-hours. There will be experienced guides on both cruises. In past years, this has
been the most productive time to see the waterfowl influx, including loons (we have
seen Common and Pacific), several grebes species, many ducks species, eagles, gulls,
etc. The boat is a stable party barge. You must register ahead of time by calling
the park at 479 789 5000. The trips are cancelled and refunded if the wind is too
high or if there is really bad weather.


Saturday November 11, 2017. Fall waterfowl migration at Lake Fayetteville. Meet at 9
AM in the trailhead parking lot just off Crossover Road and just south of the
Botanical Garden (not parking lot adjacent Botanical Garden) for a short walk to
Mulhollan Blind. From the blind we will travel to the Environmental Study Center
viewing deck, then to north end of the dam (near ball fields and entrance to the
boat dock).

DECEMBER

NWAAS annual membership meeting (date and program to be announced)


Fayetteville Christmas Bird Count (date to be announced)