Sorry this is such a late post but life responsibilities have taken precedent over posting here sooner.  On Monday 16 January, 2012 Mark Robbins and I drove about 300 miles around NW Missouri looking for Snowy Owls, conducting a raptor survey, and stopping at hotspots to look for whatever may be hanging around.  We started the day at Nodaway Valley CA and ended up at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge getting a stop in at Big Lake/Fortescue where we had a couple of trip highlights.  Speaking of highlights there were quite a few.  First and foremost was the only Snowy Owl of the day which was sighted on an irrigation rig just north of MO 118 due north of Squaw Creek NWR.  This bird appeared to be a hatch year male.  At Fortescue looking south from the highway we noticed several Bald Eagles in some trees along the Missouri River, we counted at least 55 birds here 60% being immature.  We also sighted 8 American White Pelicans here and a Great Blue Heron.  Across the road on Big Lake were 16 gulls one of which was an alternate plumage Franklin’s Gull, three were Herring Gulls and the remainder were Ring-billed Gulls.  We encountered huge numbers of Mallards at both Nodaway Valley and Squaw Creek.  North of Nodaway Valley CA on Holt County 190 we stopped at a flooded quarry that held a nice diversity of waterfowl including all three dark goose species.  Nodaway Valley was also a mecca for Red-tailed Hawks with over 30 in the area including a western ssp, and a Krider’s.  Squaw Creek was teaming with around 200K Snow Geese and 189 Trumpter Swans (one of which was banded and reported to USGS), we also found a nice diversity of ducks on Cattail Marsh including most common dabblers and a few divers as well.  Overall our raptor survey had 127 Bald Eagles, 51 typical or presumed to be typical Eastern (borealis ssp) Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Western (calurus ssp) Red-tailed Hawk, 4 Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawks, 2 Krider’s Red-tailed Hawks, 1 light morph Rough-legged Hawk, 1 unidentified Buteo that may have been a RLHA, 13 Northern Harriers (3 male, 10 immature or female), 7 American Kestrels (5 male, 1 female, 1 unsexed), 1 Snowy Owl, and 1 Great Horned Owl (same field as the SNOW).   Ebird entries for our trip are below.  I will add the rambling trip entry first, it doesn’t have many entries but it has the details of our day. 

Rambling route in NW MO mostly Missouri River bottoms, Holt, US-MO Jan 16, 2012 9:20 AM - 2:35 PM

Protocol: Traveling

285.0 mile(s)

Comments:     Mark B Robbins and John Bollin observers.  Driving around NW Missouri primarily in Missouri River bottoms in Holt and Atchison counties.  Strange day weather wise as a frontal boundary hovered over the area that we covered.  It was 38F at Nodaway Valley CA where we began our mileage and it topped out in the upper 40's at times it was clear and calm and felt warm, at others it was overcast with a strong NW wind.  Habit conditions in much of this area were very bleak due to prolonged summer flooding.  Stops at Nodaway Valley CA, Big Lake/Fortescue, and Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge were given separate entries and time and mileage in these locations have been subtracted from the totals.  I also made two incidental entries for 5 TUSW at Forest City, and for 1 SNOW, 1 GHOW, and 1 male AMKE at 4007'44"N 9515'44"W.  The route we drove was as follows leaving Nodaway Valley CA on B (S) to O (S) to T (NW) to Holt 310 (W) to Memphis Road (N) to Miller Road (NE) to MO111 (NW) to MO111/US159 (W) to P (N) to Fox Rd (N) to 230 (E) to P (N to E to N) to MO118 (E) to I-29 (N) to MO111 (W and N)  to E (W) to U (N) to US136 (W) to D (N) to A (E) to I-29 (S) to 118 (W) to Squaw Creek to US159 (E) to I-29 (S) to Fredrick Ave in St. Joseph MO.

13 species (+1 other taxa)


Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)  X

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  11     All presumed to be borealis ssp

Buteo sp. (Buteo sp.)  1     We believe this might have been a Rough-legged Hawk but were unable to make a firm ID

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  4

Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)  2

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  X

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)  1

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  X

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X

American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea)  X

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  X


Nodaway Valley CA, Holt, US-MO

Jan 16, 2012 8:00 AM - 9:20 AM

Protocol: Traveling

15.0 mile(s)

Comments:     Mark B Robbins and John Bollin.  List includes both conservation units and the Holt Co 190 including quarry.

27 species (+1 other taxa)


Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)  300     At quarry on Holt Co 190

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)  250     130 of this number in field.  I am fairly certain there were far more.

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)  20     At quarry on Holt Co 190

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  562     500 At quarry on Holt Co 190

Gadwall (Anas strepera)  2     At quarry on Holt Co 190

American Wigeon (Anas americana)  2     At quarry on Holt Co 190

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  105030     30 At quarry on Holt Co 190

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  1     At quarry on Holt Co 190

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)  5     4 At quarry on Holt Co 190

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  30

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  13     12 At quarry on Holt Co 190

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)  40

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  15

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)  6

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  30     Presumed to be borealis ssp.

Red-tailed Hawk (Western) (Buteo jamaicensis calurus)  1

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  2

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  2

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  2

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  5

Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)  2

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  2

American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea)  35

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  1

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  1

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  300

meadowlark sp. (Sturnella sp.)  10


Big Lake SP, Holt, US-MO

Jan 16, 2012 10:40 AM - 11:00 AM

Protocol: Stationary

Comments:     This includes sightings from the highway south of Fortescue out towards the Missouri River.  Temperature was in the mid 40s with light wind.

16 species


Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)  12

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)  100

Ross's Goose (Chen rossii)  1

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  50

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)  8

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  55

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1

Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)  1     Alternate plumage

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  12

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  3

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1

Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)  1

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  X

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  1


Field north of MO 118 due N or SC NWR, Holt, 4007'44"N 9515'44"W  US-MO Jan 16, 2012 11:40 AM

Protocol: Incidental

Comments:     Mark B Robbins and John Bollin.  We sighted a AMKE along road and stopped to sex the bird and Mark noticed a SNOW on an irrigation rig in the field.

3 species


American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)  1

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)  1     Bird was observed on irrigation rig.  We also observed the bird fly.


Squaw Creek NWR, Holt, US-MO

Jan 16, 2012 2:05 PM - 4:35 PM

Protocol: Traveling

14.0 mile(s)

Comments:     Mark B Robbins and John Bollin temperature was 45F when we entered the wildlife loop and the sky with partly cloudy and winds were light, by the time we left the temperature had dropped a couple of degrees, the sky was overcast and there was a strong north wind.

40 species (+1 other taxa)


Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)  100

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)  200000

Ross's Goose (Chen rossii)  4

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)  1

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  300

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)  189     All birds that were close enough to tell were TUSW so we assume that all Cygnus were this species.  In an area that had 104 birds, 19 were immature birds.  I saw at least 8 others that were immature.  Some birds were somewhat obscured from good view.  We feel this was a very accurate number with little or no duplication.  Also observed was a neck banded bird.  The band was black lettering on yellow with the ID of 30N.  This bird has been reported to USGS and the Trumpter Swan Society.

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  1

Gadwall (Anas strepera)  2

American Wigeon (Anas americana)  2

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  25000

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  47

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)  1

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  2

Redhead (Aythya americana)  2

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  85

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  4

Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)  5

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)  10

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  44

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)  3

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  57

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)  6

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  9

Red-tailed Hawk (Harlan's) (Buteo jamaicensis harlani)  4     At least one HY bird

Red-tailed Hawk (Krider's) (Buteo jamaicensis kriderii)  1

Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus)  1

American Coot (Fulica americana)  1

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  5

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  2

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)  1

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  3

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  3

Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis)  2

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X

American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea)  38

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  X

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  6

meadowlark sp. (Sturnella sp.)  13


John Bollin, NE Leavenworth County, KS


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