Willow Beach Park 1/19/13

Saturday was a day of major temperature swings.  The low was in the 20s and the high in the 60s.  We chose this day to visit one of our favorite spots Willow Beach Park off of England Rd outside of Little Rock.  Last month we got a Western Grebe and several Horned Grebes and we were hoping to revel in the same grebe action.

We got out there around 8:00 am and started strong with Cormorants and Ring-bills on the the Arkansas River.  Loggerhead Shrikes and Meadowlarks filled the fields outside the park and flickers in the neighborhood adjacent the park.  In the lake at the beginning of the park we got several Lesser Scaup, Great Egrets, both Kinglets, and a Kingfisher.  We drove around flushing up handfuls of Cardinals here and there as well as a mixed flock of Grackles, Rusties, and Red-wings.  Great Blue Herons lined the small pond of the park which also contained two Gadwalls.  Sparrows called from the thickets as well as Titmice, Chickadees, Carolina Wrens (no Winter or House Wrens today), Yellow-rumps, and many Robins.  When we got to the River we immediately saw hundreds of gulls.  We stood on the banks and id’ed most of the gulls as Bonaparte’s.  Close to the banks, schools of small bait fish were near the surface.  This attracted several of the Bonaparte’s Gulls and we got good views and pictures.  More herons and egrets were on the river as well as tons of Pied-billed Grebes.  A lone Pelican was seen but many more Cormorants were seen.  We scanned the Pied-billeds looking for other species and found only wayward Scaups.  Song Sparrows lined the banks in the brush.  We made it to another section of the lake and saw the Scaup that we had scared but also some more Gadwall and a few Buffleheads.

We left the park and headed for a nearby pond.  We saw a Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk, and Savannah Sparrows in the fields on the way out.  In a slough we saw several Buffleheads, Gadwalls, and Mallards.  When we got to the ponds we saw that it was covered with aquatic birds.  Several Cormorants, Ring-bills, and Egrets accompanied the many ducks and Canada Geese.  We first saw Lesser Scaup mixed with Hooded Mergansers.  We looked to the other side of the pond and saw a large raft of Ruddy Ducks.  Following the Ruddies were two larger, non-descript divers.  We got out the binoculars and were able to see that they were female Redheads.  Redheads are a duck that we don’t come by that easily.

Side Note– this puts me up to 12 on my Winter Duck Challenge.

We had a great time on a great day in a great park:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Mallard
  3. Gadwall
  4. Redhead
  5. Lesser Scaup
  6. Bufflehead
  7. Hooded Merganser
  8. Ruddy Duck
  9. Pied-billed Grebe
  10. American White Pelican
  11. Double-crested Cormorant
  12. Great Blue Heron
  13. Great Egret
  14. Red-tailed Hawk
  15. Killdeer
  16. Bonaparte’s Gull
  17. Ring-billed Gull
  18. Rock Pigeon
  19. Eurasian Collared Dove
  20. Mourning Dove
  21. Belted Kingfisher
  22. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  23. Downy Woodpecker
  24. Northern Flicker
  25. American Kestrel
  26. Eastern Phoebe
  27. Loggerhead Shrike
  28. Blue Jay
  29. American Crow
  30. Tufted Titmouse
  31. Carolina Chickadee
  32. Carolina Wren
  33. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  34. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  35. Eastern Bluebird
  36. American Robin
  37. Northern Mockingbird
  38. European Starling
  39. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  40. Northern Cardinal
  41. Savannah Sparrow
  42. Song Sparrow
  43. White-throated Sparrow
  44. Dark-eyed Junco
  45. Rusty Blackbird
  46. Common Grackle
  47. Red-winged Blackbird
  48. Eastern Meadowlark
  49. House Sparrow
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