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I took I-29 N and drove east on Hwy 92 towards Smithville Lake this 
afternoon. A little east of Shiloh Springs Golf Course on Hwy 92 I 
observed a shrike fly across the road directly in front of my car. What I 
was able to observe in the quick, low flight were the white 'comma' wing 
patches (much smaller than in a mockingbird) and a white rump. The white 
in the rump really stood out--very bright. I tried to recall as I was 
driving which shrike had the white rump and which had the gray....couldn't 
remember. The field guides and internet sources I've looked at indicate 
that typically a Loggerhead Shrike has a gray rump, and the Northern 
Shrike has a white one. However, Sibley shows that light Loggerhead adults 
can have a whitish rump. Thus, while the white rump seems to indicate a N. 
Shrike, can't say for sure since rump color is not diagnostic. 

All this brings up questions I don't have answers for....
Are light Loggerheads common here? Have Loggerhead shrike numbers declined 
in Missouri? If so, by how much? What are the chances this is a Northern? 
A Loggerhead? If you feel so inclined, I'd appreciate your input!

At Smithville Lake I observed Great Blue Herons (several), Coots, Hooded 
Mergansers, Common Goldeneye, Bald Eagles and Snow Geese, among others. 
Near the dam, one adult and 3 juvenile bald eagles stood on the ice for 
quite some time. The adult took flight and headed straight for the snow 
geese that were congregating closer to the dam. That sure got a 'rise' out 
of the geese. ha! The eagle flew through and then emerged out of the 
rising 'snow goose cloud,' soaring right over the dam and my car with 
finesse and power--and I believe, a smug little grin. :)
 
At the Litton Center feeder station around back I observed juncos, 
American Tree Sparrows (first of season for me), Black-capped chickadees, 
cardinals, American Goldfinch, & House Sparrow. 

Headed up to McComas Road at dusk and observed 3 Northern Harriers 
coursing over the fields. A small flock of American Tree Sparrows followed 
me as I drove down McComas, flitting from one side of the road to the 
other. Did not see any Short-eared Owls. 

Laura Gilchrist
Kansas City
[log in to unmask]

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