If I had to guess, I would say that at least 20% of my posts are from Boyd Point Wastewater Treatment Facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. As mentioned in previous posts and perhaps soon to be featured on my “Birding Hotspots” page, Boyd Pt is one of the premier birding locales in southern Arkansas. My favorite times to visit are during the migration seasons and during the “winter.”
On one of the last days of November. I journeyed to this haven of water-loving birds. Right off the bat there were Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, Ruddy Ducks, American Coots, and a couple of Mallards in the first pond. Over the pond, there were a handful of Ring-billed Gulls and Bonaparte’s Gulls flying. Perched on a bit of piping, still on this first pond, were gobs of shovelers and gulls. I made my way along this first, fruitful pond and found some divers including Hooded Mergansers, Bufflehead, and Lesser Scaups. Surprisingly, there were several American White Pelicans. A few years ago I never saw these at Boyd Pt. However, these last two years they have been quite common.
I moved along the roads to the back ponds, flushing Killdeer all the while. Overhead, I had a Double-crested Cormorant and a flock of over 100 Snow Geese. I made it to the back ponds, looking for Eared Grebes. These grebes are not incredibly common in AR. They are pretty reliable at Boyd Pt and many state birders come here to see them every year. Unfortunately, none were seen on this outing. I did come across a horde of Canada Geese and flushed up several American Pipits. The pipits were my first for this season. There were a handful of waders on these back ponds. I drove by Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets as they foraged from the rip-rap banks.
In the surrounding woods I picked up a wide variety of songbirds and other peripheral birds. The surrounding habitat varied from farmland to bottomland hardwood. Several sparrows hung out in these edges: Fox, White-throated, Savannah, Song, and Swamp were all seen. I picked up a House Wren in a scrubby section. This year is shaping up to be a really good year for House Wrens. I don’t think their populations are that erratic from year to year, but it seems like I’ve seen more this winter than any other.
I left the facility having observed over 40 species of birds and a plethora of Northern Shoveler pictures. Near the exit, I found a fairly late Scissor-tailed Flycatcher hunting from a power line. This record did not get flagged on eBird, but it was my latest record by over a month. This was a great day, despite spending it around poop ponds. If you’re ever in the Pine Bluff area on a weekday, I highly recommend birding it.