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Our goal on this annual trip to Baldwin Lake is to see the 5 species of  
geese regular to our area.  Yesterday we saw 4 of the 5, missing Ross's  
Goose.  We had hundreds of Snow Geese that were close enough to scan  through but 
could not find one.  We saw some small groups of Greater  White-fronted 
Geese mixed in with Canada Geese, and 3 Cackling Geese standing  next to Canada 
for an easy ID and striking comparison.   The amount of  Snow Geese in this 
area is unbelievable and quite a site when they are  stirred up by the 
numerous Bald Eagles.  We had some ducks and grebes at  the south end of the 
lake including Northern Shoveler, Ruddy, Coot, Common  Goldeneye, Canvasback, 
and Common Merganser.  There was a small group of  Horned Grebe (maybe 8) and 
numerous Pied-billed.  It was amazing how few  gulls we saw, there were a 
few Ring-billed and Herring, compared to the numbers  seen in previous years. 
 We saw a Hermit Thrush in that area as well as  many Am. Tree Sparrows, 
Song Sparrows, and a few Swamp Sparrows.
 
Our target birds at Peabody Coal are shrikes and Short-eared Owls.  We  
searched without luck for a shrike but did see numerous Northern Harriers and  
Red-tailed Hawks throughout the area.  Almost all of the lakes are frozen  
so we saw little waterfowl except for the ducks in the air.  Thousands of  
Snow Geese and a few flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese were landing in the 
 fields east of the main road.  As we waited for the short-eared Owls to  
appear, we saw six harriers disappear in the long grass to roost.  The  
sunset was worth the trip and the wait.  As we were leaving the area a  little 
after 6 pm, we saw 3 Short-eared Owls from the road close to the  cross road 
at the park entrance. (A sign at the entrance to Peabody Coal  says that it 
now closes at 9 pm.)
 
What a wonderful way to spend the first day of "the big thaw",  hopefully!
 
Pat Lueders, Trip Leader
 
 

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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Fall Meeting: September 24-26 at Camp Clover Point
http://mobirds.org/