Delaware Bay & Lake Dardanelle 12/4/12

This morning I went to Delaware Bay which is off of Highway 22 east of Paris.  The “bay” is part of Lake Dardanelle and highway 22 follows the lake for a good portion of the trip out there.  The weather was actually pretty poor.  It was storming earlier and there was still some rain coming down when I got out there.  However, the birding was not indicative of the weather and was surprisingly good.  I saw several aquatic species and a couple first of season.

Starting out on highway 22 I could see an abundance of coots and gulls.  A few Scaup were glimpsed but it was too quick to get an id.  I was afraid that there wouldn’t be any Scaup later on down the road to id since the weather was so bad.  Fortunately, when I got to Delaware Bay there were several Lesser Scaup out on the lake.  There also more multitudes of coots and several Pied-billed Grebes.  Ring-billed Gulls were out in full force and a couple Bonaparte’s Gulls were seen.  American White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants were scattered here and there.  A Kingfisher watched from a branch hanging out over the water.  Occasionally he would give his chattering call.

American Coot

American Coot

Another “watcher” waited on the other side of this part of the lake but I didn’t see it until I scanned the lake for gulls.  What prompted this scanning was the finding of a gull larger than the Ring-bills.  I saw it and saw the size of the bill and knew it was a Herring Gull (FOS).  Herring Gull aren’t too common in Arkansas but they are regularly seen at this part of the lake.  While scanning to look for more Herring Gull I caught a white ball in the trees on the banks of the other side of the lake.  As I looked closer I could make out the rest of the bird and confirmed that it was a Bald Eagle (FOS).  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Bald Eagle at this part of Lake Dardanelle and this was the first Eagle I’ve seen this winter (even though some Bald Eagles breed in Arkansas).

After watching this section of Delaware Bay for close to an hour, I moved down to view the other part. On my way over to the other side of the park, I wondered to myself, “Where are all the Buffleheads (FOS) at?”  I come to a stop and look out.  I see a Great Blue Heron on the banks, gulls, cormorants, and pelicans in the distance, and a large raft of coots near shore.  In the raft of coots I could see white every now and then.  Through the binoculars I could see that these were male Buffleheads.  As I looked out upon the lake, I saw that there were Buffleheads everywhere.  “Here is where the Buffleheads are at,” I answered myself.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

On the way out of the park, on highway 22, was an abundance of birds (wasn’t there when I came in) was on the lake.  I pulled over and looked out:  Cormorants, Coots, Scaup, Grebes, and Gulls.  Nearer to the shore I looked and saw some other Aythya sp.: Canvasback.  I noticed there long beak first but a look through the binoculars confirmed it.  I ended the outing with another FOS.

Alas, I have forgotten about my more terrestrial acquainted birds.  Among the reeds on the bank I could constantly hear Carolina Wrens and Song Sparrows.  Among the woodlands I heard a barrage of Juncos and Goldfinches.  A Flicker felt it necessary (I thougth it necessary as well) to shout from the woods every few seconds and I saw four, in the fields outside of the park, all in one small tree.  Titmice, Chickadees, White-throated Sparrows, Yellow-rumps, Kinglets, and Cardinals called from the understory and woods.

Here’s what I saw:

  • Canvasback
  • Lesser Scaup
  • Bufflehead
  • Pied-billed Grebe
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • American White Pelican
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Bald Eagle
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • American Coot
  • Herring Gull
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • Bonaparte’s Gull
  • Mourning Dove
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Blue Jay
  • American Crow
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Brown Creeper
  • Carolina Wren
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • American Robin
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • European Starling
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Song Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Northern Cardinal
  • American Goldfinch
  • House Sparrow
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