Karen Holliday and I traveled west on Saturday going to Holla Bend NWR with stops at Beaverfork Lake, Lake Overcup, and Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA along the way. We didn’t see much at the initial spots, mainly birds to load up my fledgling month count, but once we got to the Holla Bend area we started getting a little more unusual.
First we stopped on County Loop Road in New Neely where Bewick’s Wrens were known to hang around. Almost immediately one appeared giving us a good look from the car. However once the camera came out he took off. We stayed there about 40 minutes seeing several other species but the camera shy bird never came back. However, that one good look gave me Arkansas Year Bird #262 tying last year’s personal record.
At Holla Bend NWR, we made a quick circuit as it was getting late. We saw lots of American White Pelicans, Bald Eagles, Ring-billed Gulls, Green-winged Teal, several dark Red-tailed Hawks, and others. The highlight was one Merlin flying by in exactly the same spot I photographed one in November of 2008. Cool and Arkansas Year Bird #263, leaving my 2009 record in the dust.
Sunday morning, we headed east to Galloway hoping for Longspurs. We didn’t see any but we did see Horned Lark which are always a treat. Before heading to Galloway though Karen showed me two wetland trails in Maumelle. The first, near the country club ball parks was relatively short and may have limited productivity but the second which we’ve given the interim title of “Maumelle–Valley Estates Wetlands” is a federally protected wetland in the southern reaches of the city. There is development around it but the wetland itself will hopefully remain viable. In it we saw a lot, including a 5 weeks late Common Yellowthroat, and the area deserves more scrutiny.