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Luck was with us Sunday as Chrissy and I refound a large flock of 107
American Pipits on Keeteman Road off 79 at around 11:40 AM on
10/30/16. They were not far past where Keeteman intersects Glacial
Sands. They were very skittish and went back and forth from various
spots along Keeteman.  
   We also found 8 Brewer's Blackbirds with the larger skittish
Blackbird mix off Glacial Sands not far from the pipits. We noticed
the Brewer's when a smaller mixed flock separated out from the larger
flock at one point.   
   Driving from Sod farm to Bradford Farm, we met up with friends from
Springfield. We were grateful to run into the Northern Shrike that was
back and that our friends had found. (Brad, I think you said one has
been returning to Bradford for 5 years now?)  
   We then spent the evening at a very successful Saw-whet Owl banding
night in Arrow Rock with the wonderful folks of the Missouri River
Bird Observatory. 14 owls were banded.   
   Today, we ventured to Hi-Lonesome to look for Smith's Longspurs
(which we did not find), but had a wonderful time with the numerous
sparrows present.   
   Regarding the Sprague's in the larger AMPI flock on Sunday: We
found what we think might have been the Sprague's in the group, but we
were not able to get a photo and we have no experience with this bird
- and very little with American Pipits, for that matter. We followed
the Sibley Field Guide we'd brought along to study the differences and
noticed on this possible Sprague's bird what Sibley mentions as a dark
streaked back, as opposed to the faintly streaked back of the AMPI
present. We then noticed an UPSA-like face that Dave Rogles's
mentioned in his post, no streaking on the flanks as Sibley describes
and fine faint streaking on the neck/breast area versus all the heavy
streaking that was easy to see on the numerous AMPI. We really had a
hard time with this bird, as the only truly stand-out difference that
did not seem subjective was the darker streaking on the back.
Everything else felt very subjective.   
   An amazing day and night and day,   
   Andy Reago   
   St. Louis MO   
   [log in to unmask]

	----------------------------------------- From: "William Rowe" 
 To: 
 Cc: 
 Sent: 31-Oct-2016 15:14:43 +0000
 Subject: Sod farm follow-up, Sunday

  I was already planning to head up route 79 yesterday with my
Botanical Garden birding class for our fourth field trip, when I read
about Dave and Tom's good luck with pipits. So, we visited the
Keeteman Road/Glacial Sand Road sod farm in Lincoln County as our
first stop.  
   From the pipit point of view, our luck was bad: almost two hours of
scanning the fields there did not produce even one American Pipit,
much less a Sprague's. The flock(s) from Saturday must have moved on,
or found successful ways of hiding in distant parts of the fields.   
   On the other hand, we did have scope views of the two "less common"
icterids that reliably show up in open country about this time of
year: Brewer's Blackbird (saw four for sure but there were likely many
more in the large, restless blackbird flocks around the area) and
Western Meadowlark (several seen and/or heard well, for good
comparisons with Easterns).   
   Up at Clarence Cannon NWR, Pike County, our best find was an
immature Harris's Sparrow, along the north-south road that leads to
"Big Pond." Otherwise, the refuge is pumping water and has partially
filled some of the wetland cells, and the duck populations are
growing.   
   Bill Rowe   St. Louis   [log in to unmask] [1]   

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