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October 13
I did not know whether to post this bird or not as I observed it (with
owner's permission) on private property on the back side of Mud Lake, south of
St.Joseph. One RUFF molting into basic plumage. It was in the general vicinity of
Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Killdeer, Pectoral and Least Sandpipers. The
expected teal and ducks were also in the area.
October 14
Giving my "best imitation" of the Sandhill Crane call, I awaited an answer
early this morning at Cattail Pool, Squaw Creek NWR. In about a minute two
cranes began calling. As I began to observe other marsh birds (Great-tailed
Grackles, pelicans, cormorants, teal, ducks) two Sandhill Cranes rose up out of the
marsh, circled around for a short time and dropped back down into the marsh
vegetation. After making the loop around the refuge and getting the expected
birds, I headed for Big Lake SP, near Bigelow. The south end was covered with
birds. I observed the largest flock of American Avocets I had ever seen, fifty
(50) birds slicing the shallow water for its tasty morsels. Other birds found
were Ring-billed, Franklin's and Bonaparte's Gulls, both yellowlegs, Stilt and
Pectoral Sandpipers, Long-billed Dowitchers, American Golden Plover,
Black-bellied Plover and Sanderling. All in all a very satisfying morning of birding.

Larry Lade
Saint Joseph, Buchanan County

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