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Early yesterday I went in search of the N Shrike which was seen west of Big 
Lake SP.  I was unsuccessful after spending about two hours there.  To my 
disappointment, I did not hear any longspurs in the area, either.
On the drive out to Big Lake SP on hwy 118, just past the town of Bigelow, 
Snow Geese (100,000), Ross's, Canada, and White-fronted Geese (400) were 
going into nearby corn stubble to feed.  A Merlin flew into a hedgerow 
containing blackbirds and failed to come out.  I assumed the Merlin caught 
breakfast. A Northern Harrier hunted the same area and numerous Bald Eagles 
were accompanying the geese.
Back at the refuge, I observed more geese and eagles (60+) with thousands of 
geese returning from the corn fields.  I estimated 170,000 Snow Geese, 
observed 2 Ross's, 600+ White-fronted Geese, 10,000+ Canada Geese, and no 
Cacklings.
Trumpeter and TUNDRA Swans are still present, possibly 70 total swans of 
both species combined.  Mallards are still the most abundant ducks. 
Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, Canvasback(18), Green-winged Teal, Hooded 
Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers (150+), and a single 
Bufflehead were present.
Purple Finch was at the headquarters.  Total species seen for the day was 
close to 50.  At 5 PM,  I watched SHORT-EARED OWLS hunting over the fields 
on the north end of the refuge.  Then I made a quick exit to avoid getting 
locked in by the automatic gates which close at sundown.

Tommie Rogers
Mound City, MO

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