Mark Paradise, Matt Malin and I took a trip to Perry and Ste. Genevieve Counties just to see what we could find this morning, March 3.  Starting in Perry County, the morning started off good with Matt spotting a MERLIN zip by us in the Mississippi River bottomlands south of Hwy 51, think this was along CR228.  This bird landed in a tree only about 50 yards from us then zipped off again to chase a Red-winged Blackbird.  Along the levee road (against the bluff) we found at least 20 WOOD DUCKS (likely returning birds) and a pair of Bald Eagles tending a nest (one bird on the nest).  Plenty of Blackbirds to pick through in the area...  About 5000 total consisting mostly of Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds, but we did manage to find at least 5 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS.  Along Hwy 51, just north of Hwy C, we found a nice group of shorebirds that included 2 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS, ~20 WILSON'S SNIPE, and a couple birds that had to go unidentified due to really bad lighting.
 
Taking Hwy 61 north into Ste. Genevieve County, and just south of the town of St. Marys, we had our first and only BLACK VULTURE of the day.  Further north in Ste. Genevieve County, we observed a very early (or likely overwintering) LINCOLN'S SPARROW along White Sands Road (the road that leads to Magnolia Hollow CA).   
 
Josh
 
Joshua Uffman
St. Louis County, MO
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