Saturday morning Joana and I spent a few hours birding an often-overlooked
site in northern Boone County, Pinnacles Youth Park. We found 35 species
(eBird list: including
Worm-eating, Palm, Yellow-throated, and Yellow-rumped Warblers; Northern
Parulas and Louisiana Waterthrushes were especially numerous and active.
Raptors were clearly migrating, as we saw several Broad-winged Hawks
soaring as well as an Osprey.

The morning’s best highlights came from several Louisiana Waterthrushes.
We observed one pair collecting nesting material, taking turns to fly down
to a creek and pick through wet leaves before selecting one (or a cluster)
and carrying these back up to a nest hole hidden behind some ferns along
the rocky stream bank. Given how well-concealed waterthrush nests tend to
be, this was really fun to watch. Later, we observed a different
individual apparently attempting to eat a rather large crayfish (nearly as
long as the bird itself). The claws and legs appeared to be missing, but
the bird spent several minutes pecking at the main body, repeatedly
tossing it into the air as part of its efforts. Eventually it seemed to
give up and wandered off along the bank foraging for smaller food.

We also found what appeared to be an unusual nest site. On top of a rock
ledge maybe 10’ above Silver Fork Creek, only a few feet from a
well-established trail, there was a very neat circular arrangement of
sticks perhaps 12-18” across, covered in a thick layer of down and small
feathers. It didn’t appear to have fallen from a tree, as it was so neatly
arranged on the ground. We weren’t sure what would want to build a nest
that large in such an easily accessible site. Any ideas what this might
be? See photo here:

Eric & Joanna Reuter
Boone County, MO

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