I went up to Bob Brown to try for Least Bittern and see if any lingering migrants were around. Starting from Independence, I got to Bob Brown about 10:00 a.m. -- i.e. way too late for rails, bitterns, etc. to do much calling. At best, I had only a brief glimpse of a Least Bittern flying a short distance and  landing in the cattails and did not hear any. Of necessity, this is the time of year when  I stop racing around, trying to see as many new birds as possible, and just relax and enjoy a lovely place like Bob Brown.

I walked the Sandpiper Flat road going and coming and saw or heard most of the birds reported by Larry Lade (i.e. Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Great-tailed Grackles, Marsh Wrens, Pied-billed Grebes), plus a couple of kingfishers and  Bell's Vireos audible from distant bushes at several locations. There were still some Blue-winged Teal and a pair of Mallards flying around. I wonder if they'll nest. The habitat looks wonderful for Virginia Rails. I would not be surprised if King Rails nested there some day. I hope someone gets out there just after dusk or just before dawn to find out if those birds are there. I have never seen so many Orchard Orioles anywhere as I did today at Bob Brown. I saw Yellow-billed Cuckoo there  four times today.

Looking back, Bob Brown has produced most of the marsh birds one might expect at one time or other this spring. I personally have seen or heard the following there this year:

Common Moorhen
Am. Bittern
Least Bittern
Virginia Rail
Marsh Wren
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle.

Neat place! If the managers maintain the water level year in and year out, sooner or later all of the above species, plus King Rail, will probably nest at Bob Brown.

I went on to Squaw Creek and did not see much, except that Yellow-headed Blackbirds and Great-tailed Grackles are evidently breeding at Cattail Pool. I was surprised that I did not head a single Bell's Vireo as I drove alomg Mallard Marsh. They have really crashed there, as they have at Weston Bend.

On the way home, I stopped at Lake Contrary, Horseshoe Lake, Mud Lake, Sugar Lake and Bean Lake. The migration is over, at least on this side of the state. Except for one Greater Yellowlegs that I heard at Bob Brown and a Pectoral and a few White-rumps at Horseshoe Lake, I saw no shorebirds except Killdeers today. I did see a female Hooded Merganser at Sugar Lake and the same flock of 8-9 white geese that were there a few weeks ago. I'm guessing the Ross' Goose that was with them a few weeks ago is still there, and that the rest are Snow Geese, but I could not get a good vantage point to check them out. (I did see one Snow Goose along the north shore of Sugar Lake).  There were a few Black Terms at Contrary, Horseshoe and Sugar Lakes. Bean Lake is now experiencing the die off of Carp that occurred at Lake Contrary a few weeks ago.

All of the oxbow lakes are drying up, whereas Squaw Creek has more water. I guess the rains we've had here missed the Platte City/St.Joseph latitude.

Bottom line: It's over!

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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