Hello All:
Four Rivers Conservation Area (Bates and Vernon Counties) continues to be a dynamic and productive birding destination. I worked Units 1, 2 and 3 on Sunday; Unit 4 today. Highlights from Sunday:
Unit 2 has some mud, but continues to dry at a rapid rate. Solitary, Spotted, Pectoral, and Killdeer (150) were the only shorebird species observed. 50+ herons/egrets. NO Mississippi Kites, which is unusual (usually see one or two here).
Unit 1 has good mud on the back side, probably for only a few days. 25 Least Sandpipers were carefully scrutinized (adults in worn breeding plumage), First of fall White-Rumped and Semipalmated Sandpipers, maybe 40 herons/egrets. Estimated 600+ Purple Martins along the telephone wires leading into Unit 1.
Unit 3/Presidents Marsh was a disappointment. Cormorant numbers about one fourth what was there a week ago (30). Only picked out one for-sure NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (juvenile); there may have been another, but it was too far. Linda Williams ventured out in her kayak and got some good pictures. There was a Bald Eagle in one of the cormorant nest trees. No cormorants were seen on, or near the nests. Saw a first of fall Lesser Yellowlegs near the boardwalk. 100+ Cattle Egrets flew over the area near sunset. I flushed one nightjar, sp. from the road near some thick bottomland woods on the way out.
Unit 4 was one big, obnoxious mudflat this morning!! Lots of dead fish, waders, and shorebirds. Here goes:
Great Egret-1000+
Great Blue Heron-55
American White Pelican-150
Least Sandpiper-50 (all worn adults)
Semipalmated Sandpiper-25 (all adults that I could see)
Pectoral Sandpiper-25 (many juveniles)
White-Rumped Sandpiper-2
Stilt Sandpiper-12 (showing worn breeding plumage)
Spotted Sandpiper-18
Solitary Sandpiper-20
Lesser Yellowlegs-7
Semipalmated Plover-6
One week ago, Unit 4 was full of water. It will probably be dried out by this weekend, unless we get some more rain. Can't think of a better way to spend a morning, though! While picking through the shorebirds, I heard Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Bells Vireo, Blue Grosbeak and had a Prothonotary Warbler singing from the scrub next to the levee. No stint this time...
Good Birding,
Doug Willis
Liberty, MO
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