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Of course, I meant not many BIRDERS focus on wheat fields!

At 07:15 AM 5/9/2008 -0500, Bill Eddleman wrote:
>I might add that wheat fields are sometimes mentioned here and there as a 
>migration habitat for Black Rails. It is quite possible this crop is used 
>more often than we suspect, as Chris points out, because I doubt that many 
>birds focus on wheat fields at dawn and dusk! I would also wonder how wet 
>the field is at present. Black Rails key in on very shallow (<1" of 
>water), but consistently moist emergent wetlands (which are darned easy to 
>drain--so a lot of this type of wetland has been lost.). A lot of the 
>sites where I have studied Black Rails have had a consistent water source. 
>Examples include very high elevation coastal wetlands, spring-fed seep 
>wetlands, or sites adjacent to leaky irrigation canals. Almost all of our 
>Missouri wetlands are far too dynamic for this species.
>
>Chris, I hope your bird or birds stick around another couple days. I'm 
>done with end-of-the-semester insanity on Saturday, and would like to add 
>it to my Missouri list.
>
>----Bill Eddleman, Cape Girardeau (and author of the Birds of North 
>America species account for BLRA)
>
>
>At 04:32 AM 5/9/2008 +0000, chris barrigar wrote:
>>The Black Rail DID call tonight, albeit late. Hey, but it called! It 
>>began calling at 9:49 pm in a different location than previously. It's 
>>calls were intermittent from 9:49 - 10:10 pm, and then it seemed to quite 
>>down unlike previous nights where it continuously called at intervals 
>>ranging from 4 - 10 seconds. A Barn Owl was heard calling as it flew over 
>>again tonight. Conditions: Mild with clear skies and winds at 0-3 mph 
>>with high humidity and a temp around lower 60's.
>>
>>For those out there wondering: The Black Rails here are calling from a 
>>large expansive WHEAT FIELD, and not your "typical" rail habitat. If you 
>>have had recent rain in your area and wheat fields with lower lying areas 
>>that could or may be holding water, I might suggest giving it a listen.
>>
>>How many birders do you know that have staked out wheat fields listening 
>>for rails? Exactly! I don't either . . . until now, that is. Who knows; 
>>this secretive bird may have been visiting these fields for years without 
>>anyone the wiser. To a migrating rail, winter wheat fields might appear 
>>similar enough to their "typical" habitat, that they may "camp" there 
>>until their habitat is more suitable for breeding conditions.
>>
>>Then too, there's all the rain we've had here in the bootheel. Their 
>>annual breeding habitat may still be under water or due to the flooding, 
>>the vegetation growth may be retarded. I guess we could speculate all day 
>>long. I'm already beginning to look forward to next Spring Migration to 
>>see if they will return to the wheat field! I guess, give your local 
>>wheat field a try - Please remember to be considerate of the land owners 
>>and obtain permission before entering their property should you go out. 
>>And please, if you decide to play a tape, try to do so far enough OFF the 
>>road so as to not lure a rail (any bird) out into oncoming traffic. Just 
>>a friendly public service announcement.
>>
>>
>>
>>For those making a run to the Bootheel for your Big Day on the 10th, you 
>>might like to know that CC/HH (A.K.A. Dexter Rice Fields) held the 
>>following at about 6:30 - 7:30 pm tonight:
>>
>>28 American White Pelicans
>>30+ Black-necked Stilts
>>3 Am. Golden Plovers
>>~ 10 Dunlin
>>~ 50 Least Sandpipers
>>~ 10Solitary Sandpipers
>>2 Black Terns
>>20+ Pectoral Sandpipers
>>1 Female Wilson's Phalarope with a damaged wing
>>Lesser & Greater Yellowlegs
>>I know I'm missing reporting something . . .
>>
>>The most productive area at CC was .7 mile South of HH where there are a 
>>few semi-flooded fields. Also, If you're driving through Dexter and need 
>>Cedar Waxwings, turn into Dexter City Lake and search the trees around 
>>the lake. Also to be found here in the trees and the adjacent vacant farm 
>>field: Solitary, Spotted & Least Sandpipers, L. Yellowlegs, Green Heron 
>>in the ditch North of the lake behind the car wash, B. Oriole, RB 
>>Grosbeak, Yellow and Palm Warblers.
>>
>>Good Birding, and those going for Big Days this weekend, GO GET 'EM!
>>Chris Barrigar
>>
>>
>>http://community.webshots.com/user/photosbychris
>>
>>
>>
>>http://community.webshots.com/user/photosbychris1
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>
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