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This fine Fourth of July morning I exercised my Freedom and Independence by walking the length of the Zell tract on the west side of Pershing State Park.A flock of 40+ White Pelicans soared overhead celebrating the beginning of the second half of the New Year. I didn't see any Groundhogs today but I did see a Whitetail Buck Deer with velvet covered antlers,that toasted the sight of me by snorting, throwing it's tail up, and running away. Several others had similar reactions. How Rude!The "wearing of the green" took on a new meaning as i walked through thick, chest high, vegetation.An Independent [ Solitary] Sandpiper was the only shorebird I saw except for Killdeer.Saw a total of a dozen Hooded Mergansers, several dozen Wood Ducks of various size and age, couple of Mallards, and a Surprise of a rare Summer male Northern Pintail in eclipse plumage. No Foolin!
 There were a bunch of Canada Geese looking Thankful it's not Hunting season!A Belted Kingfisher was a nice gift, as were a Least Bittern, calling Pied-billed Grebes, and singing Marsh Wrens from the stands of Cattails.Catbirds, Cuckoos, Indigos,Yellowthroats, and Bell's Vireos kept me company along the way. 
Dragonflies and Butterflies decorated the scenery.Lots of Redwings and Common-tailed Grackles snacked in the mucky marshes.A female Dickcissel announced little ones with a beak full of small yellow Grasshoppers.Fishy-sounding Crows bade me good-bye as I left the area.
No Tricks, just more Treats, on the way and through Fountain Grove CA.Brown Thrasher taking a gravel dust bath.An- almost - Patriotic - Red, White,and Black Woodpecker.Yellow-breasted Chat Hooting & Hollering form a thicketMr. Quail marching across the road. Then BOB WHITE ringing in my ears!An Eastern Kingbird Sentinel on a barbed wire.Crazy- sounding Gray Catbird making a fool of himself in a Blackberry Patch.Lark Sparrow flying off flashing it's white tail-lights.Couple of six-packs of Great Egrets surveying the muddy, after the flooding, mess.Wildflowers lighting the roadside. A bouquet for my Wife!
Heading Home short on Time and Gas!
Happy Holidays!Steve KinderUnited States of America


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