Yesterday afternoon and evening I was able to takes some students out birding to Watkin’s Mill SP and Smithville lake. The main highlight at Watkin’s Mill was an awesome, male Golden-crowned Kinglet that was low and close and in perfect light!! We also had good looks at a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Ruddy ducks.
At Smithville lake, we had a total of 21 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS with the majority south of the “W” bridge boat launch. In general, there were not a lot of birds but we had some great opportunities for viewing. We had around 50-60 White Pelicans fly directly over us at the Little Platte marina. At the pond at “W” and “F”, it was loaded with ducks: Gadwall, Green and Blue-winged Teal, Shovelers, Mallards, Pintail, Bufflehead, Goldeneye, Ringnecks, and Hooded Mergansers. On the main body of the lake we also had Common Mergansers, one Redhead, and two Bald eagles. American Coots are starting to increase in numbers as are the DC Cormorants.
At Camp Branch marina we had one COMMON LOON and this morning one Franklin’s gull (it was an adult with a deep red bill and totally black legs and the primary tips were black with white spots a little further back) In my Peterson’s guide, it does not show the adult Franklin’s with black legs so I was a little uncertain but don’t know what else it could be? We also had FOY E. Phoebe calling and a Tree Swallow. Off of the dam, both Eastern and Western Meadowlarks are numerous and calling. Also, we observed one pretty good sized flock of female Red-winged Blackbirds.
On Friday evening, we ended the day at the Arley access and observed 4-5 AMERICAN WOODCOCKS do their courtship displays. It was a very good outing for the students as they were definitely dazzled by several of the species observed. The two-day total was about 60 species.
Warmer weather is on the way!! Good Birding!!
Terry L. Miller
Clay Co., MO
------------------------------------------------------------ The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum ASM Spring Meeting: May 1-3, 2009 in Columbia, MO. http://www.mobirds.org