This morning I was joined at Eagle Bluffs CA (Boone Co.) pre-dawn by Nick March, Chris Corben and Kyle McCommis. I arrived at the Missouri River access, alone, around 5:20am. Upon exiting my car I heard (rather loudly) the "will's-widow" part of a CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW song. Then I thought, "That's just crazy," and started hooting for owls. Within a few minutes I had three GREAT HORNED OWLS hooting on both sides of the river. Nick showed up shortly, and an EASTERN SCREECH-OWL was whistling as he pulled up. About 30 minutes later Nick remarked that he thought he was hearing a Chuck-will's-widow, and a few minutes after that I heard it again, as did Kyle. Unfortunately, it was fairly distant at this point, not nearly as close as it was when I first arrived, and we have no recording. Does anyone know the late date for this species in Missouri? Josh's website doesn't have a link for Chuck's, and I couldn't find any October records for the state in eBird.

Around sunrise Ethan Duke and Richard Stanton arrived, and shortly after that we were joined by Tom Luhring, Peter Kondrashov and Frankie Cuculich. It was time to start our rail walk! Unfortunately, the habitat at EBCA was not conducive to rails. We encountered ~10 SORA, but no other rails. Both NELSON'S and LE CONTE'S SPARROWS were seen (I believe the gentlemen from Kirksville obtained some good photos), as well as plenty of SWAMP and SAVANNAH. I also believe I heard rumblings of a VESPER SPARROW and a YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD.

As we were getting ready to walk into Pool 10 a MERLIN screamed past, just over the water. About a dozen WILSON'S SNIPES were present, as was a LEAST BITTERN (flushed by Kyle) and an immature BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON. An immature NORTHERN HARRIER was working the area all morning.

Since the birds were tough to find at EBCA, many of us opted to try Bradford Farm. Birds were even more scarce there! We had a couple MARSH WRENS, a single SEDGE WREN (compared to ~10 last Sunday), another possible VESPER SPARROW, some SONG, SAVANNAH, and SWAMP SPARROWS. Maybe a LINCOLN'S.

I'm leaving a lot out, but I think those were the highlights!

Good birding,

Ryan Douglas
Postdoctoral Fellow
310 Tucker Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

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