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.
David & Mary Anne Marjamaa
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Website: http://mobirds.org/