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Mary Anne and I went out to Riverlands MBS and Confluence Point State
Park for about three hours this morning.  Our target was the Short-eared Owl
(not found).

At about 9:15 a.m. we checked out Heron Pond.  There were lots of Canada
Geese and Mallards, but also small numbers of Pintail, Gadwall, Ruddy Ducks,
and a pair of American Black Ducks.  There was a large mixed flock of Horned
Larks and Lapland Longspurs continually flying into the grassy area about
30-40 feet from the car.  They would graze the area, then off they would fly
to return a short minute or so later.  They all scattered when a male
Harrier overflew the area.  The ducks and geese were more disturbed.  We
left to go find the owl.  We were only a short distance down the road when
we heard geese overhead.  There was a flight of White-fronted Geese at low
altitude over our heads heading to Heron Pond.  High in the sky was a large
flight of about 600 Snow Geese heading in the oposite direction.  We
returned to Heron Pond, and estimated about 120 White-fronted Geese mixed in
with the Canada Geese and ducks.

We drove slowly down the Confluence road, looking for Short-eared Owls
(without success).We did see huge swarms/flocks of Lapland Longspurs.  I
estimated 3,000, but Mary Anne felt there were many more.  We observed more
Harriers, Kestrels, and Red-tailed Hawks in flight over the fields as we
drove to the park.  In the trees and in the road near the entrance to the
Confluence State Park, we watched about 20 White-crowned Sparrows with
American Tree Sparrows.  Further in, we saw about 20 Savannah Sparrows.  On
our way out, we were able to get very close to a Lapland Longspur at the
side of the road.  Just before leaving the confluence road, we encountered a
couple hundred Lapland Longspurs on the road.  I've attached my Smugmug page
for these birds.

http://david-marjamaa.smugmug.com/Nature/2010/10839197_VtMrp#789208612_QcsNX

David & Mary Anne Marjamaa
Manchester, MO

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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Website: http://mobirds.org/