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Jerry and I have just returned from a Missouri bird odyssey this weekend.

We greatly enjoyed the Smithville Reslagic.  The weather was great 
(probably too good) and the company was top drawer.  Highlights for us 
were the (guesstimated) 6-8,000 Franklin's Gulls.  Our boat did not see 
the Merlin Phil reported.  We had a great time, but I have to admit this 
is the first "pelagic" I've ever been on at which the birders ate the 
chum (both boats!).  Thanks, Kristi and Burroughs Audubon for a fine day.

This morning we joined a small, hardy lot around the fire at the Squaw 
Creek Big Sit.  Things were a bit slow.  We had a good scope view of a 
sitting Merlin.  There were perhaps 300 swallows, some immature coots, 
about 30 Great Egrets.  We had to leave about 9:45 to get to lunch, so 
don't know how things went after that.  Those who stayed the night had 
heard 3 species of owls.  The species list was approaching 30 when we 
left.  Thanks, Midland Empire Audubon for a chilly, but fun morning--and 
for the tip on the $2.39 gas in St. Joe.

At Swan Lake the Big Sitters greeted us with giant smiles and, "Guess 
what was here at 5 a.m.?"  The McNeelys were treated to 20 minutes of 
listening to a Black Rail! (We waited till after dark this evening--no 
repeat performance.  The species list was about 60.  The swallow count 
was in the many thousands--the swarm was too far away to count.  The 
food was Five Star quality and the company was just as good.  Thanks, 
Grand River gang for a fine feast and very pleasant afternoon.

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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