This afternoon visiting West Virginia birder, John Waugaman, and I ventured south of Columbia to look for Scissor-tail and other possible lifers for him.

We went first to the access road along the west side of US 63 just north of now-defunct Cedar City.  We found 3 Western Kingbirds on utility lines between the turn off 63 and the area near the MFA facility.

We checked out Noren Access; found many people, no avian action.

So, back up 63 to Hartsburg turn off (Rt. A) and down into the Hartsburg Bottoms.  We went to the intersection of Hartsburg Bottom Rd. and Bush Landing Rd., where a STFL had been reported on May 10.  I was starting to turn south when John yelled, "There it is!"

We watched a bird come off the ground with something in its mouth, and lost sight of it as it headed into the trees at the southwest corner of the intersection.  It and then another sat on the power lines across the road.  We put the scope on what looked to be the beginning of a nest.  At first I thought we had two males on the lines, then they came into the tree and we knew for sure we were looking at a nesting pair just beginning to work on the nest.

A bonus at the site were two Lark Sparrows (probably sharing the same nest tree), also lifers for John.

We drove north along River Road, stopping a couple times when John heard birdsong.  Tanager, orioles, vireos, gnatcatchers.

Then to Eagle Bluffs, I with my fingers crossed that the Bell's Vireos would be at the big trees at the sharp left before the main entrance.  They were!  We had really good looks.

On into Eagle Bluffs, proper.  John had been there several times in winter, never in spring/summer.  We had the usual suspects, with the notable exception of the Least Bittern who called from the reeds at the turn onto the second one-way (from the reeds alongside the exit end of the loop).  It wouldn't come out, but John heard it several times.

In the Sapp tract we did not see any Trumpeter Swans, but did have 14-17 Great Egrets.

It was a beautiful, very enjoyable afternoon.

I'm basking in the warm glow of the effects of endorphin flow from the birders' second greatest pleasure:  Showing life birds to another birder.  And I'm looking forward to a trip to West Virginia.

Bodacious birding!

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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