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I went to Squaw Creek today and visited Bob Brown, L. Contrary, Sugar Lake and Smithville Reservoir on the way home.

We're 2/3rds of the way from the summer solstice to the vernal equinox. Most of what you see when you go to Squaw Creek is vegetable, not animal. The Big Bluestem and Indian Grass on the way into Squaw Creek are thick and tall and beginning to set seed. The pools are full of vegetation. (There's also a pretty good Marijuana crop on the other side of the drainage ditch across from the moist soil unit). But there is a small amount of shore bird habitat with a small amount of shore bird life in it.

I found about 100-150 shore birds in the moist soil unit on the north side of the refuge, including the following 10 species:

Killdeer (25)
Lesser Yellowlegs (8-10)
Greater Yellowlegs (2-3)
Solitary Sandpiper (6-7)
Spotted Sandpiper (1)
Pectoral Sandpiper (50-75)
Least Sandpiper (4-5)
Semi-palmated Sandpiper (2-3)
Wilson's Phalarope (1)
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER (multiple sightings of at least 1 bird walking in and out of sight among drier clods of earth)

I also saw 4-5 Snowy Egrets, 1 imm. Little Blue Heron, and 9 Cattle Egrets while driving the loop.

I also heard what I believe to have been either a Virginia or King Rail while walking the road to Eagle Point. -- i.e. a "yamp. yamp, yamp, yamp, yamp, yamp, yamp, yamp"  steadily descending in pitch.  I was not the  "oink, oink, oink" accelerating in speed that I usually associate with a Virginia Rail, nor did it have the "kek, kek, kek" quality that I usually associate with a King Rail. Nor was it anything like the high-pitched "hah, hah, hah" sound that I usually associate with a Common Moorhen. (There were Common Moorhens in the area.) If I had to guess, I would say it was closer to a King than to a Virginia Rail.   Can anyone help from these descriptions?

Bob Brown W.M.A. also has limited shorebird habitat, which produced Killdeer, L. Yellowlegs and Spotted, Solitary,  Least, Semi and Pectoral Sandpipers. A Red-shouldered Hawk was flying among the cottonwoods by the river.

It appears that Bob Brown is being flooded, probably to get ready for the teal season. (Teal are beginning to accumulate at both Squaw Creek and at Bob Brown).

There were about 50 shore birds at the Lake Contrary swimming beach, including Killdeer, L. Yellowlegs, Spotted, Solitary, Least, Semi, Baird's and Pectoral Sandpipers.

Sugar Lake is filling up. I saw no shore bird habitat there.

I scoped from the dam at Smithville Lake at about 6:00 p.m. I saw all sorts of boats and jet skis zooming around plus one very pale shorebird flying low over the water fairly far out. It was probably a Sanderling.


Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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