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The Fall Audubon Society of Missouri meeting was held Sept. 26 pm- Sept 28 mid-day at Camp Clover Point at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. It was well attended with around 85 registrants. It was rainy Friday evening but knock-you-over gorgeous weather the rest of the time. Steve Mahfood, head of MO's Department of Natural Resources, and Dave Erickson and other key leaders from MO's Department of Conservation, were our keynote speakers on Saturday and Friday nights, respectively. Bill Rowe's bird ID quiz reminded me of how much more there still is to learn about birds and that I personally need to put my nose back into the books more regularly. The food was delicious and most of us gained another pound or two ... groan!
 
OK, now to the birds. We saw 102 species for the weekend. That seems like about a "normal" number for the mostly oak-hickory forest that we're in and the busy lake that we were around although I haven't looked at any historical info to verify that number. The lake level was high and Killdeer were our only shorebird. The approach of winter was heralded by the sightings of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Brown Creeper, and White-throated Sparrow. The lingering of summer was indicated by presence of summer breeders such as Indigo Bunting, Field and Chipping Sparrows, and Summer Tanager, although not a single Scarlet Tanager was found. The COMAL birds I was seeking, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Philadelphia Vireo, were seen by others but not me. (Boo-hoo!) Migration of Yellow-shafted Flickers was in full swing on Saturday and Blue Jays flocks were heading south on Sunday. Double-crested Cormorants and Ring-billed Gulls were present in good numbers. I thought the best birds seen by my field trips were the Palm and Pine Warblers. (Especially the Pine Warbler as I had been checking, faithfully but without success, for the past 4-5 years the small row of pine trees along the drive at the ranger's fire tower. I was beginning to doubt my own optimism for finding a Pine Warbler or a Red-breasted Nuthatch in or near them.)
 
My checklist is at home but memory recall says that the raptor watch on Saturday yielded 2 Bald Eagles, 2 American Kestrels, 3 or 4 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 6 Cooper's Hawks, ~ 12 Broad-winged Hawks, 4 Red-tailed Hawks, 3-4 Red-shouldered Hawks, 4 Osprey, and 75 Turkey Vultures. Another group had a Peregrine Falcon on Saturday.
 
In short, you should have been there! It was terrific!!!
Susan
Susan Hazelwood
Columbia, Boone County, MO
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