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As others have reported it was a very enjoyable day yesterday at Swan Lake. I only wished I had been there about 5A.M. instead of almost an hour later. That's when the Mcneelys were listening to the Black Rail as it moved along the edge of the marsh. Terry said he really wished other people had been there too to hear it. That was a great way to begin but certainly not the only highlite. The other big surprise was that the big Swallow staging was there. With most of the cornfields around already harvested I had hoped maybe they would come to the refuge but didn't really know if it would happen.Early morning found us watching est 100,000+ Swallows flying over, around and landing on top of the vegetation. They were mostly Tree Swallows so from a distance their white underparts looked like a frosting on top. At Dusk there were several times as many birds swirling in the sky then they drifted off to the west to find another place to roost. My thought was that they wanted to get away from
 the noise and turmoil of the untold thousands of Blackbirds that were coming in to roost in the marsh. Big flocks of ducks were also dropping back in after returning from feeding elsewhere. These were about 90% Northern Pintails.  
 During the day we also watched Cormorants, Pelicans, and a big swarm of 500 - 1000 Franklin's Gulls soaring overhead. Don't think anyone really tried to count the gulls, probably all trying to find something different besides a few Ring-billed that were with them.  
  I think one of my favorite things during the day, [besides all the good food and great company] was watching the raptors. We were treated to multiple sightings of each of Redtails, Northern Harriers,Sharp-shinned, Coopers, Merlin, and Bald Eagles. We watched them hunt, soar, and dive all day long. The Harriers were especially entertaining, sometimes coming quite close to our group in and around the Big Sit circle.[Too many chairs, grills, scopes, people etc. to all fit inside the 17ft circle at once!]  Seemed like there were Harriers in view at all times during the day and at one point four could be seen working the marsh at the same time. all were female or immature. I haven't seen a male yet this Fall.  
  So the Big Sit is not quite as boring as it might sound. Great way to bird while relaxing outside with old friends and new. Of course you can't get too relaxed there could be a new species appear at any time! And if you've never experienced the sights and sounds of a large wetland at Dawn and/or Dusk, you owe it to yourself to do so! - Maybe next year at the Big Sit! 
 
Later, Steve Kinder, Chillicothe 
 
 P.S Thanks to every one involved who helped make the day a success, including all our visitors and a special thanks to Dianne for manning the Visitor Center and all her other work in preparing for the event.

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