Thanks for a great report, Chris.

I've birded Sand Prairie.  It is one of those small, limited variety habitat, but VERY SPECIAL places--a remnant of a once much more prevalent habitat--a place saved as a reminder, but more importantly as a foothold for many species we've pushed to the extremes by habitat elimination.

Your report on Mobirds and in the CACHE database helps alert birders to areas like this.  They, in turn, may find rewarding birding at Sand Prairie and other lesser known sites, and can contribute to the knowledge of bird presence in Missouri by entering their finds in the CACHE database.

Bird on!  See y'all out in the field after the Columbia April 6 election (and after some catch up on sleep!)

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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On Mar 21, 2010, at 9:21 AM, Chris Barrigar wrote:

Greetings everyone,

Saturday morning, the Swamp Candle Birders met at Sand Prairie where the overcast skies, light wind, and mild temps made for an enjoyable morning of birding. We were accompanied by SE Missourian photographer, Maura (I believe her name), as the newspaper is slated to do a story about the Swamp Candle Birders of SEMO.

I knew that we would be faced with the challenge of not much habitat diversity and that the habitat (sand prairie) was more specialized, but we still managed to see 35 species between 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. with the help of some flyover Wood Ducks, Snow Geese and a lone Belted Kingfisher.

We began by walking through the prairie that has bluestem grasses, prickly pear cacti, and many other native plants when a LBJ (Little Brown Job) popped up, flew only 10-15 yards away and then disappeared. My heart raced as I hoped this might be the sighting of the day with everyone getting close looks.

You know the drill; Dennis Wheeler and I flanked the bird, and the group followed as we encircled the bird and began slowly stepping inward. The photographer was keenly curious, and yes of course, we included her in the circle. Once everything was said and done, we were all facing each other at about 10 feet apart, at first thinking our efforts had been eluded, but then Rita caught movement within the circle and the LeConte's Sparrow was in the center of the circle. All present had great looks at this secretive winter species. A minimum of 3 birds were present that we observed.

We continued to walk only the western half of the main field taking our time investigating any and everything from birds, plants, insects, tracks and holes in the sand as we stayed nearer the tree lines. Probably the surprise of the day was three Swamp Sparrows in a clump of Sumac. Normally, thought of as a wetlands/wooded species, we were surprised to find them there in a sand prairie.

Several members saw several Life Birds Saturday, and it was great fellowship to be out with others, birding!

Full trip results have been entered into the CACHE database and can be viewed here:
http://www.mobirds.org/CACHE/viewData.asp?tripID=15809&locID=1194

Good Spring Birding,

Chris Barrigar
 
Stoddard Co.
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http://community.webshots.com/user/photosbychris
 
http://community.webshots.com/user/photosbychris1
 




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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
List archives: https://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html

------------------------------------------------------------
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
List archives: https://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html