I took some time from house projects and before church ran out to Lake Wappapello and Mingo NWR (along Bluff Rd.) this morning.

Lake Wappapello was a bit quiet until about 8 am when a loose flock of warblers came whizzing through along the bank of the lake heading south. They were primarily Northern Parulas though mixed in were several Tennessee, a few Yellow-rumped, a lone first winter female Blackpoll Warbler and a few Am. Redstarts.

There were a minimum of 4 Red-breasted Nuthatches - two in the pines and two along the observation deck. I was able to digiscope one that was hiding behind and peeking around a Red Cedar trunk. Not very exciting aside from the fact that it sat still long enough for me to set the scope and camera up for this and other shots.

At Mingo NWR along the spillway road not far from the Mingo Job Corps area, I observed a blonde Woodchuck. Not only was it blonde, but probably one of the largest Woodchucks I've seen in quite some time. Image here:

Along Bluff Dr. in an open field by what I believe is called Pierman Dr. was a large flock of 50+ Eastern Bluebirds. I tried to digiscope one individual that was a bit more gray than blue, but I was unable to relocate it once outside the truck. It was craziness with them all, but super cool as well.

It makes one wonder what this winter will be like for MO and the northern states/Canada. With the strong push of RB Nuthatches, early reports of Crossbills, and now this large flock of E. Bluebirds? It could get interesting this winter.

Bird on avian brethren!

Chris Barrigar
Stoddard Co.
Bloomfield, MO
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