This rainy Sunday afternoon, my wife and I went to Eagle Bluffs to check out
the goose situation as described by Edge Wade.  It was, indeed, an
impressive sight!  Multiple flocks of 5,000+ birds (snow geese, canadas,
greater white-fronted geese, and mallards) along with a few interspersed
northern pintails.  The Golden Eagle was not to be found near Pool 2, but
there were two Bald Eagles and a Rough-Legged Hawk staking out the area. 
Given the territorial nature of birds of prey, I have no doubt they had been
staring each other down over their prospective meals.

I had given up on the Golden Eagle and moved on when I spotted a dark mass
atop a tree about 1/4 mile from the main road toward pool 2.  Pulling out my
spotting scope, I was barely able to see the lightened head and faint white
in the wings.  S/he was positively drenched, but I'm positive it was him (or

Another highlight was a spot my wife made as we were driving along the
distribution channel: four Hooded Mergansers!  This was a lifer for both my
wife and me.  They are absolutely beautiful birds.  To my knowledge, they
were two couples (two male, two female).  Further down the distribution
channel were around 50 Canvasbacks, Redheads, Greater Scaup, and Common
Goldeneye.  We didn't go all the way through the Sapp Track, but going on
that loop we stumbled across a cornfield *full* of Mallards, at least 3000
overall, as well as more than a dozen Ring-Billed Gulls.

Overall, saw 37 species (including the winter regulars at the feeder,
although no Red-Breasted Nuthatch or House or Purple Finch) and well over
20,000, despite the poor weather, my best single-spot birding
count yet!

Hope everyone else stayed high and dry,
Chase Darr
Columbia, MO

The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
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