Hey all,

I went out to see if the 3000 shorebirds were still at Eagle Bluffs.  They
were not.  In fact, while we were there from 10-2, there wasn't much more
than LESSER YELLOWLEGS and a single LEAST SANDPIPER.  I think it was so
windy and sunny that everything that could move on *did*, and everything too
small to fly *hid*.  Not exactly the "Big Day" I was secretly hoping for
(much to my wife's rejoicing, as she's not quite the birder I am).  However,
we did see a couple of species that are worth noting...and my wife even
spotted our Bird of the Day!  She's gotten pretty good at that, actually...I
wish she liked birding more. haha

First, we were going through the sharp 90* turn area where the second Eagle
Bluffs sign is when I heard the distinct call of a warbler.  I'm not very
good with warblers, so I stopped the car and turned on my wife's iPod and
scanned through the warblers until I found its match: CHESTNUT-SIDED
WARBLER.  Lifer #1 for the day, although I never did *see* it (a bit too
windy for that), we definitely heard it call a number of times and it
matched the playback really well.  While I was looking for the CSWA, I
spotted an FOY SUMMER TANAGER as he dove down and grabbed what looked to be
a butterfly or moth.  As I was watching Mr. Tanager snack on his brunch, I
heard a chirp behind me and turned around to see a bright blue bird sitting
in a dead sapling.  Turns out it was Lifer #2: BLUE GROSBEAK.

Continuing down the road, we relocated the COMMON YELLOWTHROATS in the tall
grass just past Pool 1.  We stopped and listened for any other grassland
warblers, but found none.  However, across the road were the calls of
several INDIGO BUNTINGS, which we spotted about 20 yards ahead.  The first
part of the distribution channel held at least a dozen of the little blue
guys and we found at least 30 by the end of the day.

The first one-way loop had several SORA calling, though none would come out
of the grass for us.  On the drive to the disabled blind, we got a great

The rest of the distribution channel yielded very little.  Pool 11 held a
dozen or so GREAT EGRETS, one of which got on bad terms with the local GREAT
BLUE HERON population.

Pools 14 & 15 were decidedly devoid of life, save a few BLUE-WINGED TEAL and
CANADA GEESE hanging out while their brethren chill up North.

On the way out, I decided to stop and see if we could find our
Chestnut-sided Warbler.  We drove into the little alcove with the small
water tower just on the other side of the wood grove we first heard him in.
 We heard him again, and failed to see him again.  However, as I was looking
out the left side of the car, my wife points at the oak tree in the middle
of the grove and says, "Hey, there's a bird."  Turns out, it was Lifer #3
and unanimous "Bird of the Day": YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER!
Thanks to my wife's new camera lens, we no longer have to ask you to go
totally on faith.  The first picture is not very telling, although it's the
clearest shot we got of his yellow belly.  It was much easier to see with
the binoculars.  However, the 2nd picture is what sold me on the ID.  My
wife happened to catch him as he dropped out of the tree to do his thing and
catch some flies.  In it, you can clearly see he's got a yellow throat,
which unless I'm mistaken is what separates yellow-bellies from other small

Sorry for such a long post.  I'm a storyteller...

In all, we saw 44 species at Eagle Bluffs today.  Not quite a species
record, but we still saw a lot of great birds.  I'll leave you with this,
one of four RED-TAILED HAWKS we saw today coasting over the car when we
spooked him from his spot atop a light pole:

Cheers and good luck with the Big Day counts!
-Chase (& Katie) Darr
Columbia, MO

The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
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