My wife and I went to Rocky Fork Lakes Conservation Area this afternoon in hopes of finding some winter finches. We discovered a few Red Crossbills in a mixed flock of birds along the service road that goes out of the parking lot to the South of the lake. In the pine tree with the Crossbills were American Goldfinches, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. We watched them for a while, often having up to 6 Crossbills in the same binocular view. As we were watching, 10 more Red Crossbills flew from behind us and into the tree we were watching. Eventually everything other than the Crossbills left the tree. All of a sudden there was an exceptionally load shot from the shooting range at the same time a Northern Flicker flew into the tree. We both counted 18 Crossbills leave at that time. They were extremely vocal.
Also had a single female Rusty Blackbird, a single Clay-colored Sparrow, and several Red-breasted Nuthatches among the other expected birds. The lakes were void of birds other than a lone American Coot, a couple of Wilson's Snipe, and a Killdeer.
Columbia, Boone County, MO
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