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About 45 people attended the annual SLAS Woodcock and Owl Prowl at Busch
Conservation area.  The pre-trip found the Pine Warbler previously reported
by Chris Kirmaier.  A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Brown Creeper were also
found near the beginning of Fallen Oak Trail.  One or more Eastern Towhees
were calling but did not make an appearance.

 

The group left the meeting area and proceeded to the Lake 8 parking lot,
were we all had scope views of the Great Horned Owl sitting on its nest.
From there we went to the Lake 33 shorebird area in hopes of a Barred Owl.
Unfortunately no owl was seen or heard.  One pond held a couple dozen
Gadwall, a Great Blue Heron and several muskrats.

 

From there we headed to the fields north of Lake 23 to wait for dusk and the
Woodcock show.  The drizzle began to thicken and blow sideways, coating
glasses, binoculars and flashlights.  A few peents were heard right at the
corner over about 15 minutes, but then we really began to hear them just a
couple hundred feet south of the corner.  We moved south and into an
over-grow field west of the road.  We could hear many birds and were able to
see a few of them against the sky before total darkness.  The drizzle made
flashlights almost useless when the birds were very far away, and the high
vegetation completely hid the birds on the ground.  We heard Barred Owl in
the distance, and decided that it was time for dinner about 6:45.

 

In an interesting experiment, David Rabenau brought an infrared camera in
order to help locate the birds.  They appeared as little white spots on the
screen and gave a general location of them, but it wasn't exact enough to
pinpoint them in the tall vegetation.  He could clearly see when they flew
up though.

 

Mike Grant

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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum

ASM Spring Meeting: May 1-3, 2009 in Columbia, MO.

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