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With the 100+ degree F temperatures, it is really not too conducive to birding. Today it was about 90 F. I began at Lake Contrary, one of the oxbow lakes south of Saint Joseph. I saw several GREAT BLUE HERONS, some BLUE-WINGED TEAL and all of our expected swallows, TREE, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED, BANK, CLIFF and BARN. Also seen were PURPLE MARTINS mostly sitting on utility wires near the boat dock/swimming area. Quite a few KILLDEER were picking around the sandy shoreline of the lake. The only other shorebirds seen here were a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, PECTORAL and SPOTTED SANDPIPERS. I did see a few more shorebirds over at Muskrat Lake, SOLITARY and LEAST SANDPIPERS. One PIED-BILLED GREBE and a single DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT put in an appearance. Checking above the lake I observed a single FORSTER'S TERN dipping down occasionally to the water's surface apparently catching insects.

I only saw to raptors today, those being a RED-TAILED HAWK and an AMERICAN KESTREL. I was surprised to see two COMMON NIGHTHAWKS sitting lenghtwise on a utility wire over by Browning Lake (another oxbow by the Saint Joseph Airport). Perched on a stump which was sticking out of water on this oxbow was a BELTED KINGFISHER. I always enjoy seeing these "minnow eaters" with their ragged crests! There were a couple of BLACK TERNS flying over this oxbow.

Of course one can hardly step outside without seeing ROCK PIGEONS and I saw a few driving through Saint Joseph on the way to the oxbows. Stopping on my way at the Saint Joseph Stockyards, I added EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, MOURNING DOVE and GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE to my "day's list". While driving around Lake Contrary some other birds flying, perched on tree branches and sitting on utility wires were: BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, CHIMNEY SWIFTS, EASTERN and WESTERN KINGBIRDS, YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, AMERICAN ROBIN, NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD and EUROPEAN STARLING.

I was hoping to see some of our areas summer sparrows and did manage to see some CHIPPING, LARK and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS. INDIGO BUNTINGS and DICKCISSELS are pretty regular this time of year and several of each of these were as well. In addition to the RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and COMMON GRACKLES I also got looks at some BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS (feeding on the ground in a livestock enclosure), ORCHARD and BALTIMORE ORIOLES. Feeding among the sunflowers were the brilliantly colored AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES. The list ends with the HOUSE SPARROW which were seen at various places along my morning's route.


Larry Lade
Saint Joseph, MO
Buchanan County
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