You need a copy of "Enjoying Missouri's Birds." This is a free booklet available from the Missouri Department of Conservation.
No field guide is detailed enough to know what to expect when in a particular area. This booklet has bar graphs that show WHEN the two species are present in Missouri.
It is never safe to assume an i.d., but the date of observation is a good place to start narrowing it down.
Louisiana Waterthrushes can be expeceted to be seen in Missouri by the last week in March. Northern Waterthrushes are not expected until about the first week of May.
On Apr 4, 2010, at 12:39 PM, Heather Clenin wrote:
I went birding yesterday at Weston Bend State Park and saw a Waterthrush. I always have so much trouble trying to tell the two apart, even using all the hints in the guides about eye stripe differences and bill size and underbelly/throat differences. Those buggers are just always in such poor light and they never stay still. However since it's early in the year, I thought maybe I'd be able to finally narrow it down.
The Sibley's range map says that Northern's are here during migration and Louisiana's are here in the summer. Is it safe to assume that it was a Northern then?
The underparts looked clean, with no buffy coloration that I could discern but as far as the eye stripe, throat, and bill goes, I just can't tell. It was very vocal with call notes but going to allaboutbirds.org and listening to the two didn't help to distinguish for me. It also pumped it's tail very vigorously and consistently. Does one happen to exhibit that behavior more than another?
P.S. Also saw a Broad-winged Hawk, a buteo which has thus far eluded me!
Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.~Basil King
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