* Missouri
* Statewide
* 24 December 2008
* MOST0812.24
- Species Mentioned
Tundra Swan
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Northern Goshawk
Thayer’s Gull
Icleand Gull (Kumlien’s)
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Snowy Owl
Eastern Phoebe
Northern Shrike
CAROLINA CHICKADEE (north of expected range)
Brown Thrasher
Lincoln’s Sparrow
Snow Bunting
Brewer’s Blackbird

Coverage:  Missouri Statewide
Compiler:  Joshua Uffman
E-mail:  [log in to unmask]
Compiled:  24 December 2008

This is the Wednesday, December 24, 2008 Missouri Rare Bird Alert, a statewide service of the Audubon Society of Missouri, serving the birding community of Missouri since 1901. The bird alert is compiled from reports submitted by ASM members and other birders throughout the state.

** NOTE: The report includes birds that are listed as rare, casual, or accidental on the August 2008 Annotated Checklist of Missouri Birds.  Species that appear in ALL CAPS in the "Species Mentioned" section are listed as "casual" or "accidental" and thus require documentation. (Note that some birds may be considered rare only during a particular season or in a particular part of the state.) The Missouri checklist can be accessed at: **


Doug Willis found an immature SNOWY OWL at Smithville Lake (Clay Co.) on Sunday, December 21, while parked at the pull off at the south end of the dam when the bird flew into the small, iced over cove nearest the dam.  Doug then watched the bird perchd on the ice for a while and later perching in a dead tree on the point where a rock jetty out into the lake in being built.  This bird has since been observed by many, with the last observation on the evening of Tuesday, December 23.  Since the initial sighting, this bird has been found in various locations on the west side of the spillway road (near the ballfields and the tan maintenance shed). The spillway road turnoff is located near the south end of the dam.  To make this story more interesting, Linda Williams passed along that photos of a much whiter SNOWY OWL were taken last weekend at Smithville Lake by a Corps of Engineers employee.  

Frank Durbian watched a NORTHERN GOSHAWK take a bird off of the Squaw Creek NWR feeder (Holt Co.) on Friday, December 19.

An adult male SNOWY OWL was found near Bethany (Harrison Co.) on Thursday, December 11.  This bird was last observed by Peter Kondrashov on Monday, December 15, in the corn stubble on the northeast side of Hwy 146.  Directions are as follows:  Take I-35 north to the 136 Bethany exit, go east on 136 to 146 and turn right.  Begin watching both sides of the road; this is where an MDC agent saw and took pictures of the owl on the afternoon of December 11.  About a half-mile further along 146 look for a gravel road (the only gravel road before a big curve).  The bird was first found perched on a telephone pole along this road.  While looking for the SNOWY OWL on Saturday, December 20, Laura Gilchrist found three SNOW BUNTINGS mixed with Lapland Longspurs and Horned Larks feeding together along the right shoulder of the road at the 2nd curve going south on 146 (where it first curves to the right and then turns into 260th). Later that same day, Terry McNeely
 reported there were 5 SNOW BUNTINGS at the location Laura found them and he also found two more SNOW BUNTINGS in a group just east of the curve at the gravel intersection of 260th and 320th.


An adult LAUGHING GULL was found sitting on the ice covered Mississippi River at Winfield Lock and Dam (Lincoln Co.) on Saturday, December 20, by Joe Eades.  While on Tuesday, December 23, Eric Schuette reported three to four THAYER’S GULLS and two to three LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were there.

TUNDRA SWANS continue to be found at Riverlands M.B.S. (St. Charles Co.) with a high count of nine recorded by Dave Rogles on Sunday, December 14, at least a couple were still there on Sunday, December 21, by searching through all the Trumpeter Swan groups.  The two female-type BLACK SCOTERS found in Ellis Bay on Sunday, December 14, by Dave Rogles were last reported on Sunday, December 21.  Over the last week many of the less common gulls have arrived.  However, since most of the Missouri side of Riverlands is currently frozen over, observers will likely need to go to the Illinois side where there is open water.  Regardless, any of the following could show up on the Missouri side at any time.  On Sunday, December 21, at least one adult ICELAND GULL (Kumlien’s) was observed in flight at the spillway.  This bird was still present as of Tuesday, December 23.  Two to three first-cycle and at least one adult THAYER’S GULL were observed on Sunday,
 December 21.  As many as two adult and multiple sub-adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS have been observed over the last week by many observers.  And, one first-cycle and an adult GLAUCOUS GULL have been present since Friday, December 19, with the adult observed sitting on the lock and dam wall Tuesday, December 23.


The Columbia CBC (Boone Co.) was held on Saturday, December 20.  Highlights included a north of expected range CAROLINA CHICKADEE, a single SEDGE WREN, a late BROWN THRASHER, and a LINCOLN’S SPARROW.


Patrick Harrison found three SNOW BUNTINGS mixed with Lapland Longspurs and Horned Larks on Sunday, December 21, just north of the Coon Creek Rest Area on Hwy 15 (Knox Co.).  Later in the week on Tuesday, December 23, Patrick observed four SNOW BUNTINGS along Hwy 168, about a half mile to one and a half miles west of Emden (Shelby Co.).

A bit further west, Peter Kondrashov also found a SNOW BUNTING mixed in with a flock of Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs along Hwy 6, just west of the Adair/ Knox Co. line. 

NORTHERN SHRIKES continue to be found at new locations with Steve Kinder finding one on Saturday, December 20, along Hwy 139, just north of the Linn/ Chariton Co. line.  


Greg Swick found a GREATER ROADRUNNER on his way to Branson on Sunday, December 21, in southern Christian Co.  The bird was sunning itself on the west side of Hwy 65 just before the Saddlebrooke Convenience Store and right below the Saddlebrooke billboard.

Larry Herbert passed along that a birder from Pineville (McDonald Co.) observed two EASTERN PHOEBES on Friday, December 19; one four miles west of Pineville and another three miles east of Pineville.


Bill Eddleman reported 103 species were recorded during the Mingo CBC (Stoddard Co.) on Saturday, December 20.  Highlights included:  A single DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, three GREAT EGRETS (all huddled together on Red Mill Pond), two MERLINS, twenty-five EASTERN PHOEBES, three HOUSE WRENS, five SEDGE WRENS, an INDIGO BUNTING, and forty BREWER’S BLACKBIRDS. 

Information regarding membership in the Audubon Society of Missouri may be obtained from June Newman, Membership Chair, at 660-542-0873, Joyce Bathke, Treasurer, at 573-445-5758, or at the Audubon Society of Missouri webpage:

Joshua Uffman
MO Rare Bird Alert Compiler
St. Louis County, MO
[log in to unmask]

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ASM Spring Meeting: May 1-3, 2009 in Columbia, MO.