Monthly Archives: December 2017

NWALT Joins the 118th Christmas Bird Count

Volunteers Survey Birds as Part of Nationwide Citizen Science Program

Birdwatchers look for birds at the Historic Johnson Pear Farm during the Christmas Bird Count

On Sunday December 17, several volunteers joined land trust staff to participate in the Christmas Bird Count (CBC), America’s longest-standing citizen-science program. The CBC, which first began in 1900, is organized by the Audubon Society and takes place across the country. The Christmas Bird Count has a rich history of bird conservation and research. As part of its biomonitoring program, the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust led a team of birders to survey NWALT-conserved properties within the Fayetteville Count Circle.

The NWALT team surveyed five properties and covered a wide variety of habitats. Two riparian restoration projects along the West Fork of the White River yielded waterfowl, belted kingfishers and great blue herons. At the Historic Johnson Farm, the team observed golden-crowned kinglets flitting from branch to branch in the old pear orchards and enjoyed hot cider and cookies, provided by landowner Anne Prichard and Ryan and Amanda Bancroft, who run Ripples and assist with stewardship of the property.

In the afternoon, the team hiked along the ridge-line on Kessler Mountain Reserve, where they saw woodpeckers, and warblers, despite wet and foggy conditions. Finally, just before dusk, the volunteers visited Wilson Springs Preserve, where they counted hundreds of American robins as they came to roost for the night. There was a final flurry of activity from multiple sparrow species, providing a satisfying finale to a full day of birdwatching.

In all, the team counted 45 bird species across the five properties. The results of the count were compiled with the other teams at renowned ornithologist Doug James’ house, who led the first Fayetteville Christmas Bird Count in 1961. A total of 92 bird species were documented for the day!  These results will be added to the extensive Christmas Bird Count database, which has been used to document shifting habitat ranges due to changing climate conditions. It will also be used to inform management of NWALT’s properties.

Thanks to our dedicated birdwatching volunteers! If you are a birder and would like to become a biomonitoring volunteer, contact us to learn more and sign up.

Volunteer Program Planning Meeting – Sunday, January 14 2-4pm

Join us as we prepare for a big year of volunteering!

Are you looking to volunteer in 2018? Join us at this short meeting to learn about how you can help preserve and protect Northwest Arkansas’ natural landscapes. We will be launching multiple projects in 2018 to create new soft-surface trails, restore habitat, ramp up our biomonitoring program, and more. The meeting will take place at our headquarters at the Ozark Mountain Smokehouse (1725 Smokehouse Trail Fayetteville, AR 72701) on Sunday, January 14 from 2-4pm. We will give an overview of NWALT’s volunteer programs and set goals for the new year. After the meeting, we’ll lead a short hike on the Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom Education Trail.

We couldn’t accomplish our work without the help of our volunteers. Thanks to everyone that gives their time to support local land conservation!

 

Kessler Geology Walk – Saturday, January 27 1-4pm

Learn the fascinating geologic history of Kessler Mountain from Geologist Walt Manger!

Join us on Saturday, January 27 from 1-4pm for our annual Geology Walk! Emeritus Professor of Geosciences Walt Manger and local bird expert Joe Neal will lead an easy and informative hike through Rock City Trail on Kessler Mountain in Fayetteville. Dr. Manger will teach about the geologic history of Kessler Mountain, and Joe Neal will point out information about local birds and plants. Comfortable shoes or boots are recommended. The program is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required. Contact sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org to sign up.