I went to Perry County Lake early this morning, mainly hoping for a woodcock display and some lingering waterfowl. The woodcocks did not disappoint, putting on a full show of peenting, twittering and chirping in the burnt field next to the main parking lot. Great-horned and Barred Owls and a gobbling turkey added to this experience of sound and sight (I did glimpse a few woodcocks). Just as it got light enough to see well and the show ended as expected, two Field Sparrows began singing at the far end of the field. First of those I’ve heard this year.


Then I heard singing, and later saw, three pine warblers in the pine stand adjacent to the woodcock field. Another treat. Finally, a scan of the lake revealed Ruddy Ducks, Buffleheads, Hooded Mergansers, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, Wood Ducks, Mallards, grebes and coots. And an eagle snatching a shad from the lake, landing in a nearby tree to begin its breakfast. A brisk, cold wind over the lake made my eyes water, but who’s complaining. All of this without walking more than a few steps from the parking lot. A phoebe sang as I climbed into my truck to leave. I’d say I’d gotten my money’s worth on another glorious early-spring morning.


Mark Haas

Jackson, MO

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