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Highlights:  Surf Scoter, Glaucous Gull, Eurasian Collared Doves, Impressive flight displays
                   by multiple Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers
   
  Beginning at the end:  after two cars had to leave RMBS because of time constraints, we crossed the Clark bridge into Illinois, down IL 143 and turned right into the road to Alton Barge.  Returning from halfway down and looking toward the dam, we saw gulls in the water beyond a small spit.  One was the/a Glaucous Gull. It would periodically make brief sorties before landing back behind the spit.  I phoned Charlene at RMBS who let us know she had refound the Surf Scoter near the rock jetty out from the dam causeway.  (On the way back to join her, we saw about a dozen of the Wild Turkey flock running across the road on the other side of 143.)  As Charlene tried to refind the scoter for us, successfully, the wind must have been blowing 35 mph.  Many thanks for venturing out of your warm car on our behalf.
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  We checked spots in St Charles County from the Angus Farm at Seeberger and Church - one Red-tailed Hawk breakfasting on a deer carcass on Seeberger - nothing at Angus Farm. Portage Road - from Seeberger to Portage des Sioux - 6 plus Red-tailed Hawks - A couple of Am Kestrels.  Hideaway Harbor - Great Blue Herons,  Portage des Sioux feeders and Park - Blue Jays, N Cardinal, House Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrow. Canada Geese at corner lake.  Driveway just south of Machens farm - 4 Collared Doves on ground eating spilled grain,  On way to Riverlands MBS - multiple small flocks of Horned Larks and a few American Crows..
   
  Riverlands - Teal Pond from Hwy 67 - about 100 Trumpeter Swans tucked against the western embankment sheltering from high winds.  Les Jenkins joined us at the HQ parking lot and had already spotted Common Mergansers out in Ellis Bay and the first N Harrier of the day.  After adding these to our year lists and scoping the area for other ducks we ate an early lunch.  Proceeding down Riverlands Way, we were entertained by several Bald Eagles 
  in spectacular flight interacting with each other in the high winds.  This was followed by Northern Harriers being tossed about while trying to quarter the fields for prey.. 
   
  From the vanished bathroom overlook we saw more Canvasbacks, some still in breeding plumage, a Pied-billed Grebe, lots of Common Golden-eye, a few Mallards, a few DC Cormorants, a single Am Goldfinch flying overhead.  Scoping from near the lookout tower across from the equipment sheds, we found a Bufflehead drake and hen, more Common Mergs, Canvasbacks, Ring-billed Gulls, Rock Pigeons.  Rose Ann spotted a duck with a Ring-necked bill but the head shape didn't look right and the body was a patchwork of 
  black, white and gray.  We didn't figure out what the possible cross was. We searched for the Surf Scoter without success. The first part of the Confluence Road produced only a few Horned Larks and two or three more N Harriers.  Teal Pond on way out ... Canada Geese and only a few Swans remaining.
   
  We added several year birds to our 2007 lists and thanked goodness the temp wasn't 30 degrees with sleet and freezing rain.  Not a bad birding day for early January.
   
  Jackie Chain
  St Louis County
   
   
   

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