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Venturing forth this morning with temperatures in the 40's and winds of 17 to 26 MPH, I birded the oxbow lakes area south of Saint Joseph. The skies were heavily overcast and it began with light sprinkles of rain, turning to light rain and then to misty rain. Really not ideal birding conditions with the wind blowing the way it was!.
   
  On the way to the lakes I stopped by the Saint Joseph Stockyards to check on the collared-doves and saw a dozen or so. The first bird sighted at Lake Contrary was an adult Bald Eagle sitting high in a tree. I heard Snow Geese flying over, but could not see them as they were probably somewhere up in the cloud cover. I began to scope the lake and observed Killdeer at the water's edge as well as about a dozen Wilson's Snipe. Out on the lake were Green-winged Teal, a lot of Ruddy Ducks, several Canada Geese and some Gadwall. I only saw one gull, a first winter Bonaparte's, which I thought for a moment might be a Little Gull but no such luck! In some of the weedy areas I tried for some sparrows, but I was just "pishing in the wind". I did manage to see some Dark-eyed Juncos and one Harris's Sparrow. Going around the lake, I headed over towards Muskrat Lake, crossing over Contrary Creek I spotted eighteen Wood Ducks down in the creek and out of the wind.
   
  At Muskrat Lake I added Mallard, American Wigeon and Pied-billed Grebe (the Northern Pintail were gone).
   
  The "pony enclosure" on Crockett Road held only ponies, llama, sheep, goats, etc., but no blackbirds today.
   
  Mud Lake had one Double-crested Cormorant, but that was about it.
   
  It is supposed to be a little better weather tomorrow, so we shall see what that might bring!
   
  Saturday I will be going up to Squaw Creek NWR at Mound City to sit at the Information Desk. I always go up a couple hours before opening the headquarters to see what is "out and about" on the refuge. Hoping for some "good" birds!


Larry Lade
Saint Joseph, MO
Buchanan County
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