I spent two days this week 28 and 29 December, 2011 driving around northern Missouri with Mark Robbins.  We were hoping to locate Snowy Owls and conducted a general raptor count.  Our route started at first light in Kearney MO on the 28th and traveled up I-35 to US 36 at Cameron and ran across the state to Hannibal.  From there we drove north on US 61 and various side roads in the Mississippi River Bottoms through La Grange and Canton up to Keokuk, IA.  From Keokuk we drove to Bethany on US 136 and lost light around Lucerne not surveying a 60 mile stretch.  One the 29th we started our day at first light at Dunn Ranch just west of Eagleville.  We drove around the Dunn Ranch/Pawnee Grasslands area for about three and a half hours.  Taking a tip from Tom Nagle we decided to drive MO 146 in Daviess County where a Snowy Owl had been sighted a few days earlier.  This route ran from Eagleville on I-35 south to Bethany then US 136, east to MO 146. We did a loop around Daviess County on mostly county roads, check my ebird entry for details if you are interested (search for recent Northern Shrike sightings in Daviess County).  From here we jumped on US 69 south from Daviess County B and headed down to Cameron then on to Liberty on I-35.  We then made our final stop at Smithville Lake.  Other stops included Long Branch Lake, Macon City Lake, Mississippi River Dam at Canton.  Temperatures reached the 50s on both days with little wind and clear skies until we got back to Cameron.
We traveled just over 500 miles in daylight hours finding nary a Snowy Owl other than at Smithville Lake.  We did see some great birds including 95 Red-tailed Hawks, 52 American Kestrels (predominately male), 30 Trumpeter Swans.  Between the Dunn Ranch area and the Daviess County rambling route we saw 4 Northern Shrikes, 3 Loggerhead Shrikes,  3 Rough-legged Hawks, and 6 Northern Harriers including a couple of gorgeous males.  At Long Branch Lake we found a single Snow Bunting on the jetty near the marina, a Western Grebe, an alternate plumaged adult Franklinís Gull, two Red-breasted Mergansers, and 11 Greater White-fronted Geese among the waterfowl and gulls.   At Smithville we found three Snowy ,two immature females, and one that is likely an immature male (behind the Litton Center), I think that is how Kristi has IDed this bird although one of the experts has weighed in with a different opinion (older adult female).  We did collect four pellets at the jetty sign in Little Platte which gives evidence that these birds are successfully foraging.  If I get an analysis report on the pellet I will pass this info on.  I did note a femur or humerus likely from a Hispid Cotton Rat but possibly from a Rattus or Neotoma.  We found Eurasian Tree Sparrows in Canton although we almost gave up with a serious lack of birds in this town.  In general, birds seemed to be very sparse in the eastern part of the state and fairly sparse elsewhere.  We only had 2 Red-tailed Hawks in nearly a hundred miles on US 136.  On the way home we noted a Great Horned Owl on I-435 just west of US-169 to end the day with two Bubos.
Missouri US 36 Transect, Clay, US-MO
Dec 28, 2011 7:20 AM - 10:40 AM
Protocol: Traveling
178.0 mile(s)
Comments: Mark B Robbins and John Bollin. Transect actually started in Kearny, MO on I-35 (N) to, US 36 at Cameron to Hannibal
8 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) 9 Just east of Macon MO in corn field
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 31
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) 13
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) X
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) 3
American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 7
Long Branch Lake and SP, Macon, US-MO
Dec 28, 2011 9:30 AM - 10:50 AM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 mile(s)
Comments: Mark B Robbins and John Bollin
18 species

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) 11
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 200
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) 9
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) 3
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 125
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) 2
Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) 1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 2
Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan) 1 Alternate plumage
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 800
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 5
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 5
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) 10
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) 12
Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) 1 observed on a jetty on west side of lake near marina
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 3
US 61 Transect Hannibal to Keokuk, Pike, US-IL
Dec 28, 2011 12:15 PM - 3:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
67.0 mile(s)
Comments: Mark B Robbins and John Bollin Transect US 61, I was unable to change it.
4 species

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 7
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) X
Canton, MO, Lewis, US-MO
Dec 28, 2011 2:00 PM
Protocol: Incidental
Comments: Mark B Robbins and John Bollin
7 species

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 25
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 1
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) 15
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 4
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 1
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) X
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 50
Canton MO Bottoms, Lewis, US-MO
Dec 28, 2011 2:15 PM
Protocol: Incidental
Comments: Mark B Robbins and John Bollin
3 species

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) 21
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) X
Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) 60
US 136 from Keokuk to Lucerne , Putnam, US-MO
Dec 28, 2011 3:00 PM - 4:40 PM
Protocol: Traveling
97.5 mile(s)
Comments: Mark B Robbins and John Bollin
8 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 75
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 2
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) X
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) 1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 2
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) 1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) X
Dunn Ranch, Harrison, US-MO
Dec 29, 2011 7:20 AM - 10:50 AM
Protocol: Traveling
30.0 mile(s)
Comments: Mark B Robbins and John Bollin traveling around the Dunn Ranch/Pawnee Grasslands area. Ended mileage at Eagleville MO
27 species (+2 other taxa)

goose sp. (Anser/Chen/Branta sp.) 50 One flock of about 15 dark geese the other was about 35 unidentfiable geese
Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 1
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) 6 Four female/immature birds
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) 2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 6
Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) 3 Two light morph one dark morph
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) 3
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 3
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 1
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [auratus Group]) 3
Northern Flicker (intergrade) (Colaptes auratus luteus x cafer) 1
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) 2
Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) 2 possibly 3
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 12
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 20
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) 2
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 5
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) 3
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 5
American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) 100
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 25
Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus) 15
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 12
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) X
NW MO wandering transect starting in Bethany, Harrison, US-MO
Dec 29, 2011 10:50 AM - 1:20 PM
Protocol: Traveling
71.0 mile(s)
Comments: Mark B Robbins and John Bollin started at Eagleville MO in Harrison County on I-35 (S) > US 136 (E) > MO 146 (E) > Davies County K (S)> Davies County P (W)> Davies County YY (N) > Davies County B (W) ending at US 69. We were specifically looking for raptors. Clear day with little wind temperture was 52F at 12:40 pm
14 species (+1 other taxa)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 3
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) 2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 13
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) 9
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) X
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) X
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) 1 Just west of Coffey on B at first section road west of town
Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) 2 one near intersection of US 136 and MO 146 one on Davies county B
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) X
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) X
American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) X
meadowlark sp. (Sturnella sp.) X
Smithville Lake, Clay, US-MO
Dec 29, 2011 3:10 PM - 4:40 PM
Protocol: Traveling
6.0 mile(s)
Comments: Mark B Robbins and John Bollin. Sky overcast with light wind to calm, temperature in the mid 50s. Started at the dam and traveled to Little Platte area, walked to the end of the jetty and drove to the Litton Center. Observed Snowy Owl in a tree at Little Platte area, one behind the Litton Center, and one on a Jetty NE of the center. Collected 4 pellets at the jetty marker sign also noted much white wash. Owls would seem to be foraging succesfullly. Also noted one owl appearing to regurgitate a pellet.
9 species

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) 1 wounded bird
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
Gadwall (Anas strepera) X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) X
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) X
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) X
Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) 3 Two HY females one bird that is likely a HY male but could be an adult female. Collected pellets from a perch used by one of the immature females. It seems that this bird has been successfully forageing. At this point pellets have not been analysed but one appeared to have a rat sized femur or humorus likely Sigmodon but possibly Rattus or Neotoma.
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 1
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) 1

The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Spring Meeting: April 27, 2012 in Joplin, MO