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I went to Squaw Creek today, hitting Smithville Lake at about 8:00 a.m. on the way. There were about 3000 Franklin's Gulls in a flock in the center of the lake. Also Bonaparte's, Herring and Ring-billed. I saw 3-4 Ospreys. There were a few ducks around (Gadwall, Pintail, Ruddies, B-W Teal), but not much else was happening.

At Squaw Creek, I found and scoped a nice Peregrine perching on a snag near the loop road. Later, I had the same experience with a Merlin at another location. There were 4 Am. Pipits on the bank along Mallard Marsh and 3 Greater Yellowlegs in the shallow water there.

I was unable to identify the best birds of the day -- 4 phalaropes with broad white wing stripes, seen in flight over the water at Mallard Marsh. (I think they were Red-necked, but they could have been Reds).

Mallard Marsh is going to be wonderful next spring if it is drawn down for shore birds, as it has been in some past years.

Ducks are begining to come in. Altogether, I had 11 species for the day, counting the Ruddies at Smithville. Divers included some Ring-necked, 2-3 L. Scaup and 1 Redhead at Squaw Creek.

Today was a day to enjoy the spiritual aspect of birding. No zooties. Not a very big list. No COMAL birds. But a lovely, relaxing day. They're cutting the beans. The Box Elder bugs are out in numbers. I stopped off at Weston Bend State Park on the way home. Areas that were alive with song in the spring were quiet. There was little activity except for Myrtles and one Orange-crowned moving silently through the foliage like ushers at a funeral. Kind of eery. But relaxing, as well.

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri

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