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I drove down to Swan Lake NWR, Chariton Co. this morning as the Snow was starting to melt. Best find there was a flock of 75 Smith's Longspurs in a harvested cropfield. Got good looks at a couple of males coming into breeding plumage. Nice!  Still a few flocks of Snow Geese around and a flock of 30 Greater White-fronted Geese too. Many large flocks of Blackbirds scattered around also. Most numerous Ducks were Green-winged Teal, with lots of Ruddy Ducks too. Saw the single Sandhill Crane that has been observed recently. Think something may have happened to the other one?Several Northern Harriers and Bald Eagles on the refuge today. Fox Sparrows singing in various places.   Swung by the east side of Fountain Grove CA on the way back. Good mudflats continue at Bittern Marsh pool where there were several each Dunlin and Long-billed Dowitchers, plus both Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, and of course Killdeer. A few Wilson's Snipe elsewhere made seven Shorebird species for the day, so it's starting. Lots of Fish Eaters on Che-Ru Lake - 24 Red-breasted Mergansers, some Ruddy Ducks, PB Grebes,couple hundred Cormorants, White Pelicans, Ring-billed Gulls, GB Herons, and 4 FOS Great Egrets. North of there some more Snow Geese with a flock of 500 White-fronts.    The Snow brought in more Grackles to the yard along with a flock of 20 Brown-headed Cowbirds and a male Red-winged Blackbird. Had a pair of Purple Finch and still have dozens of Am. Goldfinch and a few Pine Siskins.
Later,Steve KinderChillicothe, Livingston [log in to unmask]

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