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Sun Dec 3, 2006

Hi MOBirders:

The 3 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE continue in Teal Pond.  From my vantage
point there I counted 96 TRUMPETER SWANs (in Pintail Pond) + 3 (in Teal
Pond) = 99.  I could not honestly turn any of them into Tundras, but then
many of the birds in Pintail Pond were balled-up with their heads and bills
buried in their back feathers.  Of the 16 duck species I saw today, a small
raft of scaup and RING-NECKED DUCKs included at least 10 GREATER SCAUP.  The
2 BLACK SCOTERs were in their usual place at the corner of Ellis Bay, by the
observation tower.  Saw 6 female COMMON MERGANSERs today.

One female goldeneye had an apparently ALL YELLOW BILL.  I don't recall
noticing whether the bird had a melon-like forehead, but almost as soon as I
spotted the bird and looked at the bill, it swam away and joined 2 female
and 2 male COMMON GOLDENEYE.  Then all the females tucked their bills into
their backs.  During many minutes of watching them, the target bird only
once quickly picked up her head to scratch and showed the yellow bill again.
The birds were more or less in the middle of the large pool formed where
Ellis Bay and the Mississippi R. join.  The tip of the lock wall that juts
upstream was in the background.

I counted 3 adult and 4 immature BALD EAGLEs, plus 3 NORTHERN HARRIERs,
including 1 male.  5 each of RED-TAILED HAWK and AMERICAN KESTREL.  The
short grasses either side of the walkway between the HQ bldg and ramp-deck
were busy with sparrows, and I saw AMERICAN TREE, FIELD (1) , VESPER (1),
SAVANNAH and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWs.

Several birders were checking out the longspur report on Confluence Rd. by
the duck club.  I tracked one large mixed flock of ~ 150 birds.  It was
difficult to count longspurs as the birds were constantly moving back and
forth, but the sense I got was that it was, roughly, an even mix of HORNED
LARK and LAPLAND LONGSPUR.  With patience, some of the longspur views were
good in the scope.  The highest number of longspurs I counted in one view
was 12.

Illinois Hwy 143 slough:  14 WILD TURKEYs were feeding there.  7
White-tailed Deer were foraging near the highway.

Mike Thelen
St. Louis County, MO
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