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Turned out to be a very nice day for four brave birders for the Burroughs Audubon Society field trip to the more northern reaches of Smithville Lake, Clinton County.  The sun came out by late morning and the 4 inches or so of snow became somehow prettier.  A cold wind blew, but the temperature hovered around 32 degrees and warmer making for some REALLY interesting soupy/muddy road conditions coupled with deep drifts over some roads.  We had to back out of a few places and it was a miracle we plowed through others.  With warmer temperatures and more rain coming up, I would not recommend the dirt and gravel roads in this area!

Purpose of the trip was to explore lesser known areas around the north end of the lake.  Wind and rough water conditions made viewing the waterfowl difficult so we didn't spend a great deal of time with that.  Still MANY gulls present at the lake.

Fun birds:
Purple finches stuffing their mouths with sycamore seeds
Cedar tree loaded down with about a hundred American Robins and Cedar Waxwings shoulder to shoulder
Brown Creeper
Hairy Woodpecker
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Sparrows:  American Tree, White-throated, Fox, Swamp, Song, Harris's, Dark-eyed Junco
WESTERN and Eastern Meadowlarks, both species singing
COMMON LOON - between Little Platte marina and Sailboat Cove
The usual ducks were more easily observed on several farm ponds
American White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle on the Plattsburg nest

Last stop after lunch at Castaways was at my house where the red morph Eastern Screech-Owl was sleeping on camera in the nest box.  I have a couple of videos of it on YouTube - search for lkwilliamsphoto to find them.  Not real exciting, still hoping for nesting activity.

Good Spring Birding,
Linda Williams
Liberty, Clay County, MO
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