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After a very busy weekend where my wife and I were not home much,  I decided
to treat my dogs to an afternoon at Eagle Bluffs.  I thought with the rain
and clouds moving through that it would stay relatively cool, at least cool
enough for me to get through the park.  Boy, was I wrong!  Dog adventures
aside, it was a really hot, ugly day today down by the river (Missouri
River).  After the clouds broke about an hour into my trek, the birds holed
up in the trees for the most part.  About the only things still singing were
Indigo Bunting and Dickcissel, so I wound up counting a lot of those.

Thinking this was gonna be one of those low-count trips, I tried to spot
every last bird I could, so when I saw three Great-Blue Herons (GBHE)
sitting in the Katy Pool, I thought "Hey, might there be some Sandhill
Cranes?"  My dogs were panting so hard I couldn't get my scope on them from
the windowsill and when I got out of the car they flew off...with necks
curled up.  They were indeed GBHE.  Ah, well, I thought, so there's a few
more here than usual.  Yah...a few more than usual.

So I get down into Eagle Bluffs proper with not much doing except a huge
flock of 70+ Mourning Doves and 15 Rock Pigeons hanging out on the power
lines.  Then I hit the distribution pond to stop and give my dogs some rest
in the shade.  I look out over the pond to the south and there are literally
dozens of confused GBHEs looking back at me.  Counting all I could see from
that view, I got 54 GBHEs just in the front part of the Dist. Channel.  

Traveling quickly through the rest of the park, I located at least 214
distinct GBHEs (i.e. not counting over an area twice).  Also, once I got
down to Pool 10, suddenly there were dozens of Great Egrets as well! 
Counting them throughout the back portion of the park, I counted at least 98
of them.  One last highlight was a group of 6 Cattle Egrets parked in some
cattails in Pool 10, very visible as you traverse the second one-way loop.

Unfortunately, my poor greyhound could not hold out in the heat (they are
notoriously bad at handling extreme temperatures).  I had to let him get in
one of the pools just to cool off a bit, so now my car smells like Eagle
Bluffs.  I felt really bad (for both dogs and birds) and I probably won't be
taking the greyhound on any more birding adventures.  Our little terrier
mutt fared better (no pool for her) and she also rides better in general.

In all, saw 37 species, mostly the usual suspects, but it wound up being cut
short because of the dogs.  I'm sure there were a few more hiding in the bushes.

I'm sorry, dogs!  Please don't make me sleep outside again!

Chase Darr
Columbia, Boone Co., MO
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