I hope you've had a chance to get out and about and have begun recording your sightings in eBird. As a reminder our focus areas for the MDC/ASM agreement are:
Black Island CA (3 units) - Pemiscot County
Union Ridge CA - Sullivan, Adair and Schuyler Counties
Taberville CA and Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie complex - St. Clair and Cedar Counties
Little Black CA, Ripley County (Co.)
Manito Lake CA, Moniteau & Morgan Cos.
Franklin Island CA, Howard Co.
Huckleberry Ridge CA, McDonald Co.
Roaring River CA, Barry Co.
Rudolf Bennitt CA, Boone, Howard & Randolph Cos.
Buffalo Wallow Prairie CA, Barton Co.
Hi Lonesome Prairie CA, Benton Co.
Reform CA, Callaway Co.
General Watkins CA, Scott Co.
Canaan CA, Gasconade Co.
Edwin A. Pape Lake (Concordia), Lafayette Co.
Saline Valley CA, Miller Co.
Birding any or all of these areas would be helpful to the Missouri Department of Conservation by giving them a fuller picture of the bird populations and seasonal changes year round.
Particular attention should be paid to these four focus conservation areas as they are woefully underbirded:
Buffalo Wallow Prairie CA in Barton Co. has only 38 species and 6 checklists recorded. Its an interesting area divided by Hwy.49/71 and has gravel road access to its various pieces but would require a lot of double backing to get to all its sections. My experience with that general area is that some roads may be something of a gumbo in wet weather. Also, there are no records for April through August. This is the area of greatest concern because of the paucity of data. Birding this at any time, but particularly between April and August would be very helpful.
The second most underbirded area is Huckleberry Ridge CA in McDonald Co. with 92 species and 27 checklists. There is only one checklist each for December, January and only 2 for February in all years so birding here this winter would be a great help. Its a oak and hickory forest and some short leaf pine with plenty of access roads but not much water, which might explain the low bird count. Only 11 warbler species recorded although Pine Warbler is recorded from January to October.
The third most underbirded area is Rudolf Bennett CA in Boone, Howard and Randolph Co. with 97 species and 40 checklists. Its a forested area with a lake. There have been few checklists in winter months Dec-Feb. but none in the last few years.
The fourth most underbirded area is Canaan CA, in Gasconade Co. with 106 species and 31 checklists. There are no checklists from December, 1 from January and 2 from February. So birding here in the winter would help fill out the list.
Additionally, MDC works with a lot of private landowners all over the state so another way to focus our birding is by county. Currently the top ten most underbirded counties by species in Missouri are Mercer, Scotland, Gentry, Schuyler, Worth, Grundy, Ralls Wright, Gasconade and Douglas counties. Birding in these counties, particularly in any conservation area or state park would help add to our understanding of bird populations and habitat.
I would love to hear your reports from the field on any or all of these areas. Happy birding!
ASM Conservation Partnership Coordinator