2019 FIELD TRIPS & BIRDING CALENDAR
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
2019 FIELD TRIP SCHEDULE
Saturday January 19, 2019. Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area will be celebrating Wonders of Winter Wildlife with a variety of programs throughout the day. Check with Hobbs for the most up to date schedule (479 789 5000). Often the day starts with mist-netting at Hobbs Visitor Center as part of “Birds and Breakfast” and an opportunity for children to release the birds and get a certificate for the release. Lynn Sciumbato usually presents 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.
Saturday February 2, 2019. 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 pavilion designed to provide high quality views plus an older viewing platform. Good potential to see Bald Eagles, various species of hawks and sparrows, ducks and other water birds. After this, we may travel a short distance to find more eagles wintering on former Round Prairie. More information about Eagle Watch at: http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/placestobird.htm
February 15-18, 2019 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). You can participate in this count anywhere. Please visit the official website at birdcount.org for more information and be sure to check out the latest educational and promotional resources.
Saturday, February 16, 2019 NWAAS and others will participate in a field trip at Devil’s Den State Park as part of the park’s Great Backyard Bird Coun. Meet near Lee Creek bridge in the park at 9 AM. Slow, easy walk mainly on pavement. Everyone is welcome.
Saturday EVENING February 23, 2019. (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 (retired) 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 Recreation 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: 36.099495, -94.408563). 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 on the disk golf course.
Saturday March 16, 2019. Trip to mature shortleaf pine habitat in the Shores Lake-Fern area of Ozark National Forest, then (if you have time or interest) 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, Red Crossbills, 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
Sunday April 21, 2019. Wattle Hollow Retreat Center deep in the Boston Mountains. We’ll start at the top of the driveway at 9:00 p.m., and slow walk toward Wattle Creek. Share a potluck lunch at noon. No charge for this day, and no need to reserve ahead. We’ll stop for a potluck lunch on the deck. To explore Wattle Hollow Retreat Center http://www.wattlehollow.com/
Sunday April 28, 2019. Spring migration and spring wildflowers at 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
“Pop up” field trip to Craig State Fish Hatchery in Centerton. Date to be announced depending upon availability of suitable drained pond habitat conditions attractive to migrating shorebirds.
May 4-6, 2019. Arkansas Audubon Society Spring Convention at the Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain. Call to Meeting will be posted on the AAS web site. Numerous guided field trips and interesting evening programs. http://www.arbirds.org
Saturday May 4, 2019. 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. 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. Check with the Den for a full schedule: http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/placestobird.htm.
Saturday and Sunday May 11-12, 2019 (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 email@example.com.
Saturday May 18, 2019. 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 many other birds. Numerous native flowers. Slow easy walk to explore this approximately 60-acre lake, an impoundment of Flint Creek.
Saturday June 8, 2019. 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
Saturday July 6, 2019. 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 13, 2019. Ouachita National Forest hopefully to see Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and other species in native Shortleaf Pine forest. Meet in the parking lot of the rest area (with bathrooms) at intersection of highways 71 and 23 north of Waldron at 9 AM. We will travel to just south of Waldron and turn onto Buffalo Road into habitat managed for restoration of RCWs.
NWAAS membership meeting. Time, place, and topic to be announced.
Saturday August 3, 2019. NWAAS will host a field trip to 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 to the viewing blinds. Those with walking impairments will be able to drive and park at the first blind. There are places to sit or stand, at several heights, and even a picnic table. Free and open to the public. We expect to see Great Egrets, plus other herons and egrets. There should be Double-crested Cormorants and possibly one rare in Arkansas – Neotropic Cormorant. In past years there have been a few sightings of juvenile White Ibises around this time. Mudflats should be starting to develop and these often attract shorebird migrants and even a Wood Duck family. One focus of this field trip is native Buttonbushes. These should be in full bloom. Their flowers are very attractive to a variety of native butterflies. These should be easy to see along the trail. Everyone with an interest in Arkansas’s wildlife heritage is welcome. Directions and more information about Eagle Watch: http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/placestobird.htm
Saturday August 10, 2019. Field trip to Kibler bottoms in Arkansas River Valley near Alma, including Frog Bayou WMA and local sod farms. Meet in the parking lot of the Alma McDonald’s at 9 AM. Good chance for Buff-breasted Sandpipers, Upland Sandpipers, etc. Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks should have fuzzy ducklings.
Sunday September 8, 2019. 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. 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 interesting native plants. Historic Van Winkle Trail is accessible for those with mobility impairments.
Sunday October 20, 2019. 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
Saturday November 9, 2019. 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 drive to the Environmental Study Center and view from the deck. From there, we will drive to north end of the dam (near ball fields and entrance to the boat dock). More info about the lake at: http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/placestobird.htm
NWAAS annual membership meeting Time, place, and program to be announced.
Fayetteville Christmas Bird Count (probable date Sunday December 15, but final date to be announced)
“Grade school to ancient age: fun with ornithology”*
OUR DOUG JAMES
Douglas Arthur James was born on July 25, 1925 in Detroit, Michigan. His parents were Arthur Collins James and Sigrid Elizabeth Hovey. His first marriage was to Frances Rowe Crews. Their three daughters are Sigrid, Helen, and Avis. His second marriage was to Elizabeth Mary Adam on July 25, 1985. He passed in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on December 17, 2018.
As a kid Doug was active in a Boy Scout troop that emphasized bird watching. During elementary school he led field trips near the school. First to catch his eye: American Goldfinches in a shrubby field.
He received his Bachelor of Science at University Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1946 and Master of Science in same place (1947). His PhD was from University Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1957. He focused on the ecology of roosting blackbirds under direction of avian ecologist S. C. Kendeigh. Doug’s blackbird roost counts always added valuable data to Fayetteville Christmas Bird Count that he initiated in 1961.
One of Doug’s graduate school classmates was James Watson who would become part of the team that worked out the structure of DNA and shared the Nobel Prize in 1962. When Watson came to visit Fayetteville in May 2005, Doug joked “We both aspired to be ornithologists. I made it. He didn’t.”
Doug came to the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville in 1953. He started as an Instructor and achieved status as University Professor in 2004. At his retirement in 2016, he had become the longest serving professor in University history.
During his career he
was a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana (1970-1971), Nepal (1981-1982), and
Belize (1988-1989). He used his Fulbrights to expand studies of
scrubland birds. In the Fulbright tradition, quite a few students
from foreign countries eventually worked on degrees in Fayetteville
under Doug’s direction. His three Fulbrights are unique. He totally
understood importance of people from different countries getting to
know and learn from one another. Internationalism was a passion for
Doug was drafted during the Korean War. He served in the US Army (1954-1956) as Research Associate in US Army Chemical Corps at Pine Bluff Arsenal (Arkansas), where he conducted numerous bird research projects. Later, he worked at the US Atomic Energy Commission (1974-1976) where he served as a general ecologist in Division of Biomedical and Environmental research.
During his more than 60 years at UA-Fayetteville, Doug taught courses in general biology, vertebrate biology, ornithology, mammalogy, animal behavior, and ecology. The leading authority on birds in Arkansas, he was senior author on Arkansas Birds, published in 1986 by University of Arkansas Press.
In the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, his colleagues Dr Ragupathy Kannan and Dr Kimberly G. Smith considered him “one of the state’s leading conservationists in the second half of the last century …”
He helped to found Arkansas Audubon Society in 1955 and long served as curator of bird records. He also helped found Arkansas Audubon Society Trust (1972) that has funded hundreds of research projects.
Doug participated in scientific meetings all over the US and many foreign countries and made 300 presentations. He was major professor to more than 50 students working on Master of Science degrees and 30 students working on PhDs. He was author and coauthor on more than 110 scientific publications, president of Wilson Ornithological Society 1977-1979, and Life Member of major scientific organizations in ornithology and ecology.
Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society was started by his students in 1978. He was an officer in NWAAS several times, including election as President in December 2018. He served on the board of Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association over ten years, including efforts to protect forests on Kessler Mountain where he lived for many years. FNHA gave Doug its 2011 Golden Acorn Award “for sharing his enthusiasm for the natural world with his students and his many friends over a career spanning several generations and continents. He has nurtured countless natural scientists, amateur ornithologists and conservation champions.”
In the late 1960s he organized the US Fish and Wildlife Service Breeding Bird Survey in Arkansas and ran the Compton survey in the upper Buffalo River region. He found time for numerous other projects. There is a wonderful photograph of Doug holding a Trumpeter Swan as a volunteer helping Arkansas Game and Fish at Holla Bend NWR in February 2010. The big swan was quite an armful for a veteran ornithologist in his 84th year. His involvement with Ozark Society and protection of Buffalo National River is recounted in Neil Compton’s book, Battle for the Buffalo River.
Doug enjoyed life and shared it with everyone around him. He and Elizabeth enjoyed ballet, opera, and art galleries. He loved all kinds of dancing. He liked to drink beer and sit up late with friends.
He loved baseball and enjoyed listening to games on his radio. As a kid, his dad took him to see Babe Ruth play at Tiger stadium in Detroit.
No one who went on a Doug James class field trip to the Texas Coast returned home without Whooping Cranes in their yellow field book. For many, this trip initiated a lifelong interest in birds.
His favorite bird family was the Sturnidae that includes our local European Starlings, but also includes mynas and many other colorful species. According to Doug, “They are so beautiful, so iridescent, so many species. They rival hummingbirds in colors.”
He loved gags. He once wore a Hog hat to drive off the stage long-winded speakers who exceeded the allotted 10-minutes during an American Ornithologist meeting in Fayetteville.
Doug required graduate students to avoid using words like “reveal.” Reveal, he said, was appropriate in religion, but not science. Data collected in field research might support or help reject a hypothesis, but didn’t reveal anything.
Doug loved running. The home he shared with Elizabeth was eventually filled with ribbons, statues, trophies. His old running shoes served as boots for field work.
(*Title of Doug’s talk to Arkansas Audubon Society, November 13, 2010)
--prepared by Joe Neal December 2018