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I thought Rusty Blackbirds were supposed to be on the decline but today I saw at least 10,000 of them sweeping through the woods along the Flat Banks road in the southern part of Mingo National Wildlife Refuge (Stoddard County).  You could hold still and they would come hurtling past you, stopping for frantic feeding on the ground and then rising and hurrying on.  Meanwhile more and more of them kept coming.   All of the birds showed a yellow eye with a black pupil.  I finally tired of them and drove away, only to find more of them along the way north through the refuge.  Later I checked in at Duck Creek CA  (Bollinger County) and there were even some of them there.  Otherwise it was a fairly dull outing.  Numbers of Shovelers and Gadwalls with a few Mallards and Ring-necked Ducks.  Thirty or forty Turkey Vultures hanging around the Job Corps in Mingo.  I saw two Eastern Phoebes and three Killdeer.  It looks like the new shorebird area near the Job Corps will finally make it (but not just yet).  There is more water in Rockhouse Marsh than I remember for many years but very little bird activity to be seen--maybe just too much habitat.  The traffic along Red Mill Drive was like downtown with the beautiful weather.  Most people were smiling.  Good birding!
Bob Lewis
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