As already mentioned by Charlene (thanks Charlene) I spent the last day and a half in southeast Missouri fishing with my 11-year old daughter.  It was her days to 'do something special', she said she wanted to go fishing, so I decided we should do that in southeast Missouri. 
Starting in the early AM yesterday, May 20, from East Prairie (Mississippi County) we found that access to Ten-mile Pond CA and Big Oak Tree SP is blocked along Hwy 102 with the National Guard keeping watch as the area is still under water.  In East Prarie we were unsuccessful in locating the White-winged Doves that have been there previous summers since first found by Joe Eades.  Albeit, this was a fishing trip, so I did not look too hard.
Over to Robert G. Delaney Lake Conservation Area (Mississippi County), an ALDER FLYCATCHER continuously sang 'free-beer' (from the marshy area) as we fished the west end of the lake.  Other than that mutiple LITTLE BLUE HERONS were flying over the lake and Hannah out-fished me.  All the way over to Otter Slough CA, we first rounded the whole area.  There I found, 1 COMMON MOORHEN at the northern entrance to Labrador Lane (this would be pool 31), Hannah immediately spotted 2 more.  Other than lots of flyover LITTLE BLUE HERONS and a ~8 BLACK-NECKED STILTS, we really did not see a whole lot else.
Back to Otter Slough CA at 6AM today, May 21, we fished from the south side of Cypress Lake.  Considering Tim Jones had photographed 10 ANHINGA on May 18 (reported through eBird), and that Chris Barrigar has had Anhingas over Otter Lake before, I was really hoping that we would catch some soaring while fishing.  Well, by 9AM, it was time to leave and I had again beeen outfished by Hannah.  But before we left, we had to take one more trip all the way around Otter Slough which resulted in 3 AMERERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS in full breeding plumage, striking to say the least, and one BLACK TERN.  But the highlight came when we were just about to exit.  There, a group of shorebirds (peeps I believe) flew over CR 675.  While trying to scan for them with binoculars I noticed at least 4 dark soaring 'crosses' over (approximately) the headquarters building.  I knew immediately what they were - Yelling at Hannah to get in the truck so we could get closer - She yelled, "... what Dad, what, your scaring me....."   Yes, the excitement of a birder seeing a state bird can be a little scary.  Stopping at Mudsnake Marsh (adjacent Cypress Lake)...  I quickly counted a group of 10 ANHINGA soaring over the area of Otter Lake, Miller Woods, Cook Woods...  Just soaring back and forth.  These birds had to still be 300 yards away, but what a sight!  Hannah did not understand my excitement but she did take a look through the scope and did explain they are pretty cool.  It was amazing how these guys could become invisible when they would bank...  Something I never realized when seeing them in the southeastern states.  As the 10 soared to the Cooks Woods end, I noticed another 3 ANHINGAS soaring over Otter Lake.  At this point it was approximately 9:30 AM and all the birds headed straight back down into the woods (I would estimate Miller Woods at this point).  These suckers looked as if they were moving pretty slow, however trying to digiscope them was not easy - Here is the best I could do:  I would think that if one grabs a lawn chair, a fishing pole and binoculars - These birds will most certainly take flight again and be easily seen while fishing Cypress Lake. 
On the way back Hannah and I counted BLACK VULTURES along I-55.  By the time we got home we had recorded 7.  In Perry County, 3 at mile marker 131.2 and 1 at mile marker 135.6.   For the St. Louis area birders (I think these are in the circle), we had 1 at mile marker 149.0 and 2 at 158.0 (both Ste. Genevieve County).  Hannah was getting very good at picking out 'gray wingtips' by Jefferson County - But, we could one to cooperate once that far north.

Joshua Uffman
St. Louis County, MO
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Bird Photos:
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
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