Thanks to Kristi and Joshua for getting the word out about the Say's Phoebe at the newly acquired McGee Family CA.

This appears to be a very nice area, an old farmstead with a few silos near a corral area. When I first arrived I walked past the buildings and corral on a service road/two-track down a slight hill. On the right (south side) of the service road, there were a mass of about 20+ Eastern Bluebirds. I had already counted at least 5 Eastern Phoebes when the rosy-flanked Phoebe hopped up on the barbed wire.

Back lit, I blinked several times to make sure I wasn't seeing something that wasn't there. Each time the rosy flanks showed true each time. I watched on as the bird flew from the barbed wire out over the field and landed in a brush pile beneath the two silos. I watched it for three minutes in this location when I decided to go back and pull my scope out the truck and try for a few photos . . . if only it'd stay put. Before I could begin moving toward the truck, the bird flew farther south and lit on a section of cattle panel. I headed to the truck with a sense of urgency.

At the truck with scope in hand, I glanced upward then stood in awe at the display of hawks overhead that now held me from my task of photographing the Say's Phoebe. There were a minimum of 24 Broad-winged Hawks at about 100 feet and climbing on thermals seemingly directly over the primitive camping area/corral. As the kettle began to move farther southward, I turned my attention back to the Say's. As I took a few steps, I noticed "a" phoebe perched on a utility wire located between a storage building and the corral. I snapped one image before it flew northward over that field landing briefly on a lone Sunflower. I then lost the bird as it flew further north into the next line of trees along the fence row.

I stayed and looked for it another hour, and noticed that the once plentiful Eastern Bluebirds and E.Phoebes had somehow disappeared and were not seen again. I contented myself with the migrating Broad-winged Hawks and Turkey Vultures. The parade of raptors seemed to slow (or were at least too high to see with the naked eye) at about 10:30 am.

This area appears to be a very nice area for future Hawk Watches as the northward landscape lazily away allowing grand views over the tree tops in the distance. I have not played back my voice recorder of the visit and species/numbers, but I'm fairly certain that there were over 200 Broad-winged Hawks within an hour's time of which I was aware.

I will send documentation to the MRBC upon my return home back "south of the Missouri River".

As a side note, there were at least 7 Osprey working over Smithville Lake. The water surface was rough by the early hour of 7:30 am this morning which made for difficult viewing; so not much to report out of the ordinary from this out-of-range birder. LOL!

Bird on!

Chris Barrigar
Cole Co.
Russellville, MO
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