The next Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society field trip is to Charlie Craig State Fish Hatchery at Centerton in Benton County. Date: Saturday, August 14, 2010. Time: 8 AM. Hatchery meeting place: parking area adjacent the picnic shelter. Everyone and all skill levels welcome. You do not have to be a member to participate. You can stay as long as you like & go home when you are ready. There is no on-site bathroom, but there is a McDonalds a mile away in Centerton. Walking will be on grassy mowed lawn or 2 track road. CARPOOL FROM FAYETTEVILLE: Meet Joe Neal at 7 AM (sharp!) in the Packrat Outdoor Center parking lot, 209 W. Sunbridge Drive. We’ll clump into as few cars as possible. The hatchery is designated by National Audubon as an Important Bird Area for good reason. Day in & day out, season after season, the hatchery is interesting & sometimes stunning in terms of its bird life. The southward fall migration of sandpipers and other shorebirds will be well underway by August 14. Birds that nested in Alaska, Canada, & across the Arctic tundra will be passing through. Depending on weather and quality of mudflat habitat on the 14th, we can expect to see 6-8 shorebird species and under very good conditions, this could range up to double that. You can see shorebirds anywhere in the state at this time, but the hatchery is special because they can often be seen at close range. If folks who regularly use spotting scopes turn out for this trip, anyone who is interested in an eyeball-to-eyeball look at these fascinating birds should have a memorable day. And, of course, there are many other bird species present at the hatchery – we’ll look at ‘em all. For more information and directions to the hatchery, check out the NWAAS website here: http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/id17.html The society’s web site also has a complete list of dates and places for field trips to the end of 2010. To explore all of the bird data associated with 25 years of intense birding at the hatchery, check out “ebird”. In your search engine, type ebird, select view and explore data, select bar charts, select Arkansas and Hot spots in Arkansas. On the drop list of Arkansas hot spots, select Charlie Craig State Fish Hatchery (Centerton), then select continue. The bar chart will give you good ideas about what you can expect for the day.
Photos from 2007 and 2010 tours of Chesney Prairie available at this link.