Greetings from the soggy, muddy, slushy, albeit warm Bootheel!
Today, I decided to spend some time at one of the target areas and in the process, picked up a few "FOY" species.
I began the visit by hiking around Pond #3 (not recommended due to the downed tree limbs and no apparant trail). I then continued the visit with a hike around Schlossor Loop Trail. This was much better walking since it is a MDC access trail. It was on this trail that I encountered the AMERICAN WOODCOCK, RB NUTHATCHES, and PEREGRINE FALCON.
I'm embarrassed to say that I did not see the Woody sunning itself on the two-track trail as I approached. I do have a good excuse though, I was watching one of two YB Sapsuckers instead of the trail at my feet. I believe the Woody was at the northern most point of the trail that borders private land.
The Red-Breasted Nuthatches (a minimum of two with the possibility of a third) were also a great surprise and about 100 feet beyond the Woody (although with less heart-stopping announcement). They were in the stand of Pines that encompass the trail at the NE part of the loop. Their faint little cooing notes were what alerted me to their presence. Not sure if documentation would be necessary, I proceeded to spend the next 15-20 minutes trying to digiscope the little buggers! I think I'd rather digiscope a warbler or kinglet, because at least they seem to pause once in awhile!
I guess I can answer to whomever was asking if anyone has seen RB Nuthatches with an emphatic, "Yes!"
The Peregrine Falcon was seen riding thermals above Turkey Vultures also riding thermals. My first thought when I saw the pointed wingtips was, "I wonder when the Mississippi Kites are due back?". It was about 4 seconds into watching this bird that it banked giving me the vantage necessary to see the bold dark "mustache" or cheek patch. I watched for about 5 more seconds, and it decided to move on as it bent its wings slightly at the elbows and briskly headed North.
Oddly, there was a noticeable absence of Gold-crowned Kinglets.
The trip yielded 6 new site species.
Complete report found here:
Also of note: Driving around yesterday and today, Spring would appear to be in the air (or at least on the minds of our avian friends). Quite a few ambitious Red-winged Blackbirds would appear to already be setting up territories as nearly every (remaining) utility pole has a male RWBL, as well as each solitary bush or stick. Not to be outdone, the Eastern Towhees are calling like crazy; in fact, while on the back side of Pond #3 at Gen. Watkins CA when I paused for about a 5 minute break, a female EATO gave a low fabulously beautiful trilling "more tea-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e" call. Instantaneously, four male EATOs flew in and were oblivious to me as they honed in on the calling female.
Hang in there; the warm up's on the way!
Good Birding!

Chris Barrigar
Stoddard Co.
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