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We spent two delightful hours at Columbia Bottom CA yesterday from 5:30 till sunset. We saw what others have already detailed but I also saw a Horned Grebe well on the way to breeding plumage. He flew before I could get a picture but it was a striking sight. The time was about 6:45pm at Pool 4.

Bill: I have not used Cache (to my shame; I'm just learning eBird and will post it there) and appreciate your willingness to post this to Cache.

Tom and Sue Fuller

Dr. Thomas H. Fuller
Harry and Margaret Heimer Professor of
Mathematics and Computer Science
Principia College
Elsah, IL 62028
618-374-5279


-----Original Message-----
From: Missouri Wild Bird Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of William Rowe
Sent: Saturday, April 07, 2012 9:59 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: CBCA, RMBS Friday highlights, plus reminders

Thanks to spring break, I did a tour of Columbia Bottom CA, St. Louis Co., yesterday from 6:15 to 11:30.  The cool, clear weather made for a delightful time, more like true early April than the "early-May" feeling we've been having.  I ran into Pat Lueders and Jean Siesener, who added some species to my list of 56, on CACHE.

The drying shorebird habitat had been given a temporary boost by the previous day's rain.  As last weekend, GREATER YELLOWLEGS was dominant, with about 150 birds present at several spots, along with much smaller numbers of LESSERS, WILSON'S SNIPE, and PECTORALS.  On the same wetlands, a total of eight waterfowl species -- all the expectable ones plus three RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, one male and two females.

Of note among the passerines were four FISH CROWS; a multitude of SAVANNAH SPARROWS (close to 100 for me, as a single observer sampling a narrow slice of the area; the real number present at Columbia Bottom had to be in the low 1000's); good numbers of SWAMP SPARROWS; one LINCOLN'S SPARROW at the visitor center, no doubt the same one I saw there last Sat. and WGNSS saw on Thurs.; a WARBLING VIREO, apparently the second-earliest date for Missouri (one in late March a few years back); and a singing WESTERN MEADOWLARK (plus some EASTERNS on territory in other spots).  The Rusty Blackbirds seem to be gone now, and I couldn't find a Brewer's among the blackbirds scattered out in the fields, although this is a good time for them.  I also tromped a long route around one corn-stubble field in hopes of flushing up a Smith's Longspur, since this is prime time for that species, but no luck.

Riverlands was pretty quiet, with high water and low numbers of waterfowl, although 11 species were present Including a single CANVASBACK and SNOW GOOSE, and a small group of LESSER SCAUP and RUDDY DUCKS out on the river.  A HORNED GREBE transitioning into alternate plumage was nice, as was an early NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW.

A few other signs of spring were the Western Chorus Frogs calling everywhere there was moisture, and the profusion of Pearl Crescent butterflies pretty much everywhere, along with some Clouded and Orange Sulphurs and Red Admirals.


For those who visit Columbia Bottom during April, here are a few species that haven't yet been recorded there but seem likely, to one degree or another:  Horned Grebe, Eared Grebe, Virginia Rail, Clay-colored Sparrow, Harris's Sparrow.  Later on I will try post a similar short list for May.  If you find any of these, or any other species that isn't on the area checklist (easily viewed at mobirds.org), please let me know -- and if it's not your habit to post your lists on CACHE, please tell me the date and approximate time and I will post a one-species list myself on your behalf.  This is the easiest way of getting each new bird onto the "official" list for the CA (as is true for any CA or state park, of course).

Thanks,

Bill Rowe
St. Louis
rowe@tjs,org

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