Friday, December 4, 2009

Visitors from the North Country

After returning to the Ozarks in early November, I was eager to return to old stomping grounds. November ended up being one of the warmest ever recorded in Missouri, so it was pleasant to spend as much time as possible out in the field. Even though the temperature rose into the 60's on November 22, a northern buddy returned to its late fall stopover for the second year in a row. The Lockwood Northern Shrike returned to the exact brush pile and surrounding fields as last year, eager to pose for my birding friend Marvin DeJong's camera.
It was only two years ago that I saw my life Northern Shrike at Fellows Lake, but I've managed to see the species for the past 3 years now. Does this represent a range expansion, or just a short term shift in migration pattern? Seems like most of the range expansion going on around here is toward the north. But, only time will tell with this northern version of shrike. Interestingly, the Northern Shrike that inhabited Whetstone Conservation Area in Fulton County, Missouri, last winter has arrived to occupy the exact same location this year, too.
On another note, how large is a loon's esophagus? Can it swallow a White Bass this size? Marvin DeJong caught this Common Loon with its successful catch on Stockton Reservoir last week. What do you think....... was it a snack for the loon, or did it escape back into the waters of Stockton?

GOAS Field Trip is off to Lockwood and Stockton again in the morning. Wonder what delights await us? Come back to find out!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Returning on Rufous wings

After a 4 month + hiatus from blogging, I have decided to ease back into the writing groove. I suppose it's safe to say that the blogging groove became a rut for a while, and the simple act of chronicling my outdoor adventures took a back seat to mostly mindless internets activity on Facebook!
The thing I missed most about my blog are the archives. If I wondered about an interesting species or equally interesting sighting date, all I had to do was search the good ole' blog to have an answer appear at my fingertips. I can still do that, but, in taking a break from blogging, I have lost a considerable block of personal birding history.
That being said, I just received a call of a newly reported Selasphorus hummingbird in Ozark. I hope to get over to see it today. I can't help put remember back in 1995 when an Anna's Hummingbird appeared at a feed in the middle of the town of Ozark. As far as I know, it was the last time an Anna's has graced our state. But, it's 10:55 am, here I go!
Success at 11:15! Back home at 11:20! 6 blocks away! A breeding plumage male Rufous! My photos are horrible, but I've sent my friend to take some real photos! In the meantime, here's my best, for what it is worth.

Well, I was going to mention my latest Northern Shrike from November 22. It appears that the same individual seen last November has returned to the exact same spot near Lockwood, MO, this year.

And I intended to feature some of my friend Marvin's loon photos, too. But, I'll save the shrike and loon shots for another day!