I saw some other neat birds in Boone County recently. I drove towards Mizzou's Bradford Farm, located between Columbia and Fulton, hoping to find some more fall migrants while I was away from home to avoid trick-or-treaters.

I spent some time scanning a flock of (mostly) Red-winged Blackbirds by Vemers Ford Rd—there were some starlings grackles, and cowbirds among them, but at least one looked like a Brewer's Blackbird; however, I'm not sure if some Rusty Blackbirds could possibly still have breeding feathers, so I'm gonna look into that some more.

The southwestern lake had a few Pied-billed Grebes and at least eight Ruddy Ducks, although divers are kind of difficult to count. At sunset, I spotted at least three of what I believe are Longspurs,  but I want to further examine photos soon to confirm the species.

The highlight of the visit was a Short-eared Owl that I saw after the sun went down. I was about to leave when he landed on a pole in the field I was driving along. I got some grainy photos, but the pics turned  out better than I thought considering the lighting. There had been a sighting here a few days ago (this species is a regular winter visitor to the farm). It was really my first time to get a good look at one—my first supposed sighting was last fall, when I saw what appeared to be an owl-shaped raptor flying away at dusk, and it was questionable. This time was a lot more satisfying.

Josh M
Boone County

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