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Hoping that Friday the 13th would not jinx my efforts I birded Voelkerding 
Slough and surrounding area this morning.  I'm not superstitious.  It is bad 
luck to be superstitious.
In an alfalfa hay field along Augusta Bottoms Rd. I found ~50 golden plovers 
(Shawn Ashbaugh counted 32 later in the afternoon) and a scattering of 
killdeer and horned larks.  There are several wet areas with mudflats along 
this road but they were all frozen this morning and devoid of birds.
I circled back and headed to the slough,west of Dutzow.  Lots of sparrows to 
pick through in the unmowed areas on the east and west ends of the reserve. 
I found song, savannah, tree, swamp and field sparrows in plentiful numbers.
Walking the circumferential berm I flushed ten or twelve pairs of wood 
ducks.  I always feel like I should apologize for disturbing them when I 
hear the plaintive cries of the female woodies.  All woodpeckers, save 
red-headed were seen and heard.  I was momentarily puzzled by the chortling 
song of a rusty blackbird but was pleased that he would regale me thus.  I 
then discovered that it was not me but a female rusty that was the target of 
his singing. She responded to his offerings with a call not unlike that of a 
summer tanager.
At the west end of the reserve I saw several phoebes darting over the water 
at the edge of the woods and noted mallards, shovellers, Canada geese and 
blue-winged teal.  On a low spit of land that juts out into wet area their 
were several killdeer and three American pipits.
Circling back to my vehicle on the Katy Trail I found waxwings, 
yellow-rumped warblers, more phoebes.
A nice, brisk morning to get out and get your feet muddy.
Don Hays
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Donald R. Hays
Union, Franklin County, Missouri

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