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Southern Illinois (Alexander Co.): Marbled Godwit, Worm-eating Warbler...

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  • Amar Ayyash
    Steve Ambrose and I spent most of Sunday in Alexander County and finished our day at the Union County Conservation Area. We birded from sunrise to sunset and
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2008
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      Steve Ambrose and I spent most of Sunday in Alexander County and
      finished our day at the Union County Conservation Area. We birded
      from sunrise to sunset and tallied 103 species. Temps were 91 degrees
      with a heat index of 98. We spent the cooler hours in the open fields
      of East Cape Girardeau and the hottest part of the day in the so
      called "Santa Fe Hills" around Fayville.

      In East Cape Girardeau there is still a great presence of shorebirds
      along RT 146. We found 14 species of shorebirds with BLACK-NECKED
      STILTS (70+) and MARBLED GODWIT (1) being the most exciting. It seems
      the fluddles are slowly but surely drying up. I could only imagine
      what it looked like along Ditch Rd a month ago. We had our only
      perched MISSISSIPPI KITES (3) of the day in Cape Girardeau, MO.
      Overall we had roughly 25+ Mississippi Kites hunting in the sky.
      After a while we just stopped counting! As others have reported,
      there are hundreds of GREAT BLUES, GREAT EGRETS, SNOWIES, and LITTLE
      BLUES stretching from the Union County Conservation area to Horseshoe
      Lake. To our surprise, we had a total of 8 BALD EAGLES (all
      individual counts; 3 in the Santa Fe Chute and 5 at Union County
      Conserv. Area). Other raptors include COOPER'S HAWK, NORTHERN
      HARRIER, and RED-TAILED (all along East Cape).

      Just south of Thebes and north of Fayville we found very nice pockets
      of songbirds with a good number of warblers among them. A lot of
      these birds must have been migrants as they were concentrated
      together and feeding methodically. We had 12 species of warblers with
      WORM-EATING, HOODED, NORTHERN PARULA, YELLOW-THROATED, CANADA, and
      KENTUCKY being some of the most notable for us "northerners". We got
      killer looks at 3 Worm-eating Warblers. We were dazzled by 2 BARRED
      OWLS that put on a show in broad daylight. I found myself having to
      dodge an EASTERN-SCREECH OWL that perched about 15 ft from us, out in
      the open, at eye level! Steve took some awesome pictures to make sure
      this one bird would be immortalized. Other birds of note are both
      BLACK-BILLED and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, SUMMER TANAGER, PILEATED
      WOODPECKER (2), BLUE GROSBEAK (3) and a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER.
      RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS were literally all over and COMMON
      NIGHTHAWKS(10+) emerged just as the sun began to set.

      Birds that were missed include MALLARD, RING-BILLED GULL, SONG
      SPARROW, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD. A Few of
      these could have been missed simply because we weren't in the right
      place at the right time. It's just amazing to me since these birds
      are found in every household in the NE part of the state. Conversely,
      birds that we saw/heard in abundance include WHITE-EYED VIREO,
      CAROLINA WREN and TUFTED TITMOUSE.

      A sincere thanks to those who helped with directions and advice
      (especially Bob Fisher and Rhonda Rothrock). Now let's get on with
      September!!!

      Good birding,
      Amar Ayyash
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