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I went down to the Dexter rice fields for the FUWD this morning.  Upon
arriving at the location (thanks for the detailed directions Leslie!)
there was a PEREGRINE FALCON perched on the powerline pole nearest the
road.  (Have any of you seen Peregrines in the area this summer?)  It
flew when I got out of the vehicle, but returned to a nearby pole about
10 minutes later.  Hoping that the falcon didn't spook the birds too
much, I searched the area and didn't find any FUWD - only a few
Mallards.  Three other birders (two parties) showed up after I'd been
there about 45 minutes.  (I'm sorry, I don't remember their names).  We
watched two ducks fly in, but with poor lighting and distance, we
couldn't ID them.  We went around from another angle and discovered they
were Mallards.  We drove down another lane (with permission from the
landowner's employees) and discovered 2 FUWD sitting up - beautiful
birds!  A tractor had gone by and alerted them.  For some reason, they
then flushed, flew around us and set down again in another field.  Once
down, they couldn't be found. Like Josh (and others) have discovered,
they'll pop up if startled by sound; otherwise they're hard to see.
(But please don't drive around honking the horn, etc.  Wait for a plane
or truck to go by.)  If you're driving out to see them, don't go too
early or late in the day since you'll be scanning both to the east and
the west and the sun makes visibility poor.

I think the Peregrine may have had something to do with the lack of
birds at the specific site, but I would say the birds are still in that
area.

On one of the side roads I stopped to search for more ducks and must
have stopped right near some stilt nests.  When I got out of the vehicle
and as I walked around, there were 6 stilts "swarming" all around me;
passing as close as 12 feet!  God must have enjoyed designing such cool
birds!

Other birds noted around the Dexter rice fields and north:
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (1)
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (3)
BLACK-NECKED STILTS (26)
SORA (2)
CATTLE EGRET
GREAT EGRET
LITTLE BLUE HERON
DICKCISSEL
(others common to the area)

Good birding!

Steve





Steven Juhlin
Conservation Education Consultant
Missouri Department of Conservation
Southeast Regional Office
PH: 573-290-5730 ext 248
FAX: 573-290-5736
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
MDC Education: http://www.conservation.state.mo.us/teacher/

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