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Mobirders:                   Re:OtterSlough 11-4-02
Just some thoughts on shorebirds...delete at will.
After consulting Robbins & Easterla's "Birds of Missouri",
I am having doubts regarding the accuracy of my numbers
of species observed at Otter Slough this morning. I sure
wish I would have slowed down and picked through the
birds more carefully.
I was looking for Dunlin, because I have seen them posted
in other areas of the state. OK, I was able to pick one out
(looking for the short, stocky one with a long, droopy bill...
dark legs, etc.). I started counting them next. After a while,
I realized that some of the droopy-billed ones were taller,
feeding in deeper water and had faint streaking down the sides.
These were Stilt Sandpipers, I believe. Dowitchers were next...
longer bill, light barring on the sides and flanks, sewing-machine
feeding. Silent.
All these birds were in nonbreeding plumage.
Probably Least Sandpipers, but in this drab plumage and they
were moving around so fast...And I'm in a hurry to see if the alleged
Western Grebe is still at Lake Wapappello...
Anyhow, I am confident that the species I posted were accurate,
but I'm not sure of the numbers. I think I started counting and forgot
to take careful note of all those subtle differences that make shore-
birds so challenging...overcounting some and undercounting others.
I will endeavor to correct this bad habit in order to give a more
accurate picture of birds observed in the future.
Met the guy who owns the habitat on the west side of Otter Slough
CA (west of CR 670). He manages the habitat and rents blinds to
duck hunters. Real nice guy...seemed to be fascinated that there
were shorebirds out there. Probably had 7 different encounters with
duck hunters...all positive.
Good Birding!
Doug Willis
Farmington, MO
St.Francois County
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