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Dear MoBirders,

My Wife and I were planning on being in Chicago today to see the HARLEQUIN 
DUCKS, but the Weather there was to be Snowy, so we decided to head up to 
St. Louis to see the WESTERN TANAGER and Riverlands...

Well..., as Joshua Uffman has stated and Mrs. Bruns told me, the Tanager 
hasn't been Seen since Early Saturday Afternoon... So the Two "W's" (Work & 
Weather) have Foiled me yet again... This is the 4th or 5th Rare Species that 
I've Missed because of the DREADED "W's"!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you Guys Know of a Job 
where I can Get Paid (Doesn't have to be Much, just Enough to Live on, Eat, 
Pay Bills, Roof Over Head, etc... I know Mrs. Pons would Never go for it...) to 
Search for Birds and Enjoy my Life, Instead of Working myself to Death...??? 
Just Curious...

Anyway, Riverlands was a Very "Happening" Place today with All the Eagle 
Watchers, I Lost Count at 50 or so just in the few Hours that we were there...
The Temperature and the Winds made Birding an Incredibly Frigid Occupation, 
though I'm So Glad that we did it all the same... Like Mike Thelen, we too saw 
Many Gulls, though we were only able to Identify (4) Different Species: Ring-
Billed, Herring, GLAUCOUS and GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL. The All-White with 
Black Bill Tip Juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL (which I was able to get Several "so-so" 
Photos of...) was on the Illinois Side of the Dam on one of the Middle Walls at 
around 4:45-5:00ish. He was Very Cooperative and stayed on the Wall until I 
Took Several Photos of him (which is saying a lot due to my Shivering, the 
Wind Shaking my Scope, my Eyes Tearing up, and my Camera/Scope not being 
set-up to do such things...). The Adult GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL, again on 
the Illinois Side of the Dam (I Think... is the Farthest Wall from the Illinois Side 
in Illinois or is it in Missouri???), was all by Himself on the Farthest Wall from 
the Parking Lot, so Judging his size was a little problem... But when Compared 
to the Gulls in front of him, on Closer Walls, he was still Bigger than All the 
others... This was a Big Gull!!! His Back was Very Dark Gray and he had a 
Large/Thick Bill with a Big Red "Spot" near the Tip... Unfortunately, we didn't 
get a Good Look at his Legs before he Flew off (I was trying to get my Camera 
going...), but from his Large Size (Bigger than the Herring Gulls...) we figured it 
Had to be a Greater... I Hope that Someone was Watching from the Missouri 
Side, because they would have had Incredible Views of him!!! These two Gulls, 
which we have Tried for Many Times in the past, were "Lifers" for us!!!

We Searched through the Many Swans, both in the Morning and the Late 
Afternoon, trying to Find a Tundra, but Only Found Trumpeters... There had to 
be Several Hundred Mergansers out close to Ellis Island, but All I could make 
out were Commons (Lack of Experience I Guess...), Many Canadas, 3-4 
CACKLING GEESE, 8-10 Double-Crested Cormorants, a Great Many Common 
Goldeneyes, 35-40+ Ruddy Ducks, 2 Amer. White Pelicans, 1-2 BUFFLEHEADS 
(I'm Positive that they were Not Hooded Mergansers...), a MERLIN on the 
Corner of the Metal Buiding at the Confluence Road, Many Sparrows, Northern 
Harrier, Red-Tailed Hawks, 11-12 or so NORTHERN SHOVELERS, and 8-10 
Mallards...

We would have Stayed Much Longer and Spent More Time out Searching if I 
could have kept my Fingers from going Numb (I could Barely use the Focus 
knob at times...)... A Great Trip, but Incredibly Cold and Windy!!! 

Yours,
Jonathan B. Pons
Columbia, Boone County

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