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Mariel Stephenson and I were with Edge Wade at Clarence Cannon NWR on
Saturday morning. We talked last night, with me telling Mariel about the
"controversy" (for want of a better word) over the warm brown toned
mystery bird. We both are quite sure the bird we saw at CCNWR wasn't a
Hooded Merganser nor was it an immature Western Grebe as someone else
suggested. I agreed with Edge then and still do; it was a Red-necked
Grebe. Mariel, with her artist's eye for proportion, quickly pointed out
bill differences between the merganser and what we saw. She also
mentioned the different head shape and length of the neck on this bird
compared to a Hooded Merganser or a Western Grebe. The Red-necked Grebe
had a thick neck but had more length to it than a merganser. This
"mystery bird" did not have a crest; it did have two knobby areas on the
rear of the top of the head. Others may have seen a Hooded Merganser; we
did not. 

 

It really sounds like there are two different "warm brown toned" birds
under discussion. That written, I do look forward to other visitors at
CCNWR looking for and studying what they might find.

 

Also, I can't help but wonder if the seemingly tame Barred Owl at CCNWR
might not have the West Nile Virus. Its feathers appeared either wet or
poorly maintained when we saw it on Saturday. It was so stationary it
seemed tethered. And it seemed totally unaware of our presence studying
it although we weren't very distant. This was just atypical behavior for
the usual healthy Barred Owl.

 

Susan Hazelwood

Columbia, Boone County, MO

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