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Yesterday I saw my first “fall” migrant birds: three Least Sandpipers and
some more unidentified peeps flying in the vicinity.

This was at the Buck and Katy Pools unit of Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area
in Boone County. The main part of the conservation area remains closed due
to flooding—yesterday I noticed they put up a stop sign asking visitors to
turn around as soon as Star School Road connects to the first levee. Buck
and Katy Pools is separate from this part; it is located just south of
McBaine and has a gravel auto tour loop that is currently open and above
water.

My initial plan for the evening was to visit Columbia City Wetland Cells #1
and #4, but I changed my mind when I saw that Buck and Katy Pools had
better mudflats than a few days ago, hoping for early migrant shorebirds.
Katy Pool was practically a lake, but I could make out the shape of several
shorebirds in Buck Pool with my binoculars. I meant to bring a telescope
with me for this reason, but I forgot (again). After only photographing a
bunch of Killdeer, a large percentage of the shorebirds and blackbirds flew
away, eastward. I could hear some kind of peeps flying above me, and I
think I saw at least one group of around six of the smaller shorebirds in
the air.

But there were still some birds in the area, and I noticed some tiny, brown
sandpipers closer to road—close enough for me to ID with a camera. I could
have sworn there were five of them at first, but then I could only see
three—I either over-counted in a hurry or a couple flew off while I looked
away. My pictures revealed a brown, sparrow-sized shorebird that appeared
to show hints of dull yellow legs. I think those were all Least Sandpipers.

Let the migration begin!


Josh M
Boone County

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