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I was one of about 20 participants that took part in the Squaw Creek NWR CBC yesterday 21 December, 2011.  It was the warmest day for a Squaw Creek CBC in several years with a low of about 28 and a high in the 40s.  With the warm temperatures there was extensive open water.  There was a huge number of Snow Geese, many felt that 400K was a reasonable estimate. Even more abundant were Red-winged Blackbirds.  I am not the compiler and don't have all the numbers but I can say that we had a total of 94 species.  Some other highlights: Five owl species including a Snowy Owl just off of P near Fortescue and at least 19 Short-eared Owls up at once in the wet prairie on the south side of the road on the north end of the refuge wildlife loop.  A pair of Sandhill Cranes, Golden Eagle, 200+ Trumpeter Swans, 3 Tundra Swans, 5 Rough-legged Hawks, Merlin, and 70 Great Blue Herons in one spot off the refuge.  While goose numbers and diversity were very good, non-Mallard (there were 10s of thousands Mallards I am not sure what number we used in the end) duck numbers were very low but we managed to find all the regulars except American Widgeon and Redhead in the circle.  Zac from NW MO State was in the party that saw the GBHEs and the SNOW and could probably elaborate on details for these birds and on a grain spill that was attracting a lot of doves (three species), and Great-tailed Grackles.  Zac you out there?  Some of the big misses besides the ducks were Hermit Thrush, White-crowned Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.  It seems like berry and mast crops suffered from a hot dry summer and extremely dry fall at Squaw Creek as well.  Who would have thunk it with all the excess water in Holt County all summer due to MO River flooding.
John Bollin
NW Leavenworth County, KS

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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
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