A group of four went up to Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge this morning to look for the rails.  On the way to Al Smith's Virginia Rail spot we looked for the King Rail and chick seen Sunday morning by Jane Allen and me on the second leg of the main gravel road, then again by Pat Lueders Tuesday morning and just posted by Phil Wire for Wednesday morning..  Missing them, we continued on around and parked and walked part way up the dike to see if we could find the Virginia Rail.  It may have been around but did not come out of the reeds then or when we returned there after lunch.
 
Several Mississippi Kites made up to me for missing the 4th of July weekend airshow as they wheeled through the air and daintily took one talon to beak to devour their prey in mid-flight.  Most if not all were adults with white heads and pale gray plumage with large white topside wing spots.  A couple of Cattle Egrets in full breeding plumage were standing in the muddy fields.  On our return, what looked like a Solitary Sandpiper settled down in the mud and three young cheeping Dickcissels went from one perch to another before disappearing over the reeds.
 
On our way back to HQ area for lunch, we caught sight of one adult female King Rail and four chicks of different sizes and fuzziness.  The youngsters were being chased out of her area by a mother Raccoon with her own offspring. This was about 50 yards from our Sunday sighting spot along the same stretch of road of one adult and one chick.
 
The King Rail was a life bird for three of our group today!  Nice to meet you at last, Linda.
 
Jackie Chain
St Louis County
 
 
 
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