I was headed home late afternoon on Friday when I got an email saying there were 12 White-winged Scoters on Beaverfork Lake in Conway. I was in Mayflower so I turned around and headed back north on I-40. I pulled into the park area and the first 4 birds I saw on the lack were the Scoters. There were 3 males and 1 female. One of the males may have been a first year. The lighting was bad and they were about 75 yds away so I couldn’t make out too much except for the white wing. I watched them for a few minutes and saw one of them victimized by a kleptoparasitic Ring-billed Gull. The gull stole a fish from one of them but dropped it shortly after. Around the scoters were a few coots, Bufflheads, Canada Geese, and several Lesser Scaup. In a nearby lawn, I sifted through a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers to find a semi-rarity. The flock went to ground and foraged on the lawn and adjacent muddy bank. Among the flock was a similar, but different warbler: a Palm Warbler. A few Palm Warblers will overwinter in the state but usually in the southern part, not the central. This was a western subspecies with dull olive body and bright yellow crissum.
The next day, Saturday, a couple of us went out to check on a sighting of Long-tailed Ducks at Two Rivers Park in Maumelle (Little Rock). We got there and found another birder with a scope on the Arkansas River. We talked to him and scanned the river but found only Pied-billed Grebes. We crossed the bridge to the trails in search for an overwintering Gray Catbird that I had seen a few years earlier. We followed the trail through pine woods, then through an area of bottomland hardwood, a section of open, grassy fields, and finally a series of ponds and flooded woods. Many birds were seen but no Catbirds.
The next Friday (2/7) I went to Two Rivers again. Throughout the week there were several records of the ducks being seen close to shore. I stopped by and found two of the ducks right away. Other birders stopped by and pointed out a few more. I crossed the bridge where the windchill was probably subzero (definitely subzero C).