A Flooded Floodplain

A day after the latest storm system passed through Missouri, a strong northwest wind is raking the State and the temperature has dropped almost twenty degrees beneath a slate gray sky.  Down at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, on the Missouri River floodplain, the pools have expanded significantly and most of the fields held shallow lakes of standing water.

Waterfowl, consisting mostly of coot, northern shovelers and blue-winged teal fed in sheltered coves or along the lee side of the levees while many of the Canada geese have paired off and claimed nest sites along the pools and channels.  Flocks of American white pelicans cruised above the refuge or huddled on sandbars and a few pair of wood ducks and hooded mergansers were observed in the wooded sloughs.  Surprisingly, double-crested cormorants have not yet arrived from the south and shorebirds were rather sparse, consisting primarily of killdeer, a few yellowlegs and a flock of American golden-plovers on a muddy field.  Most conspicuous were the turkey vultures, tilting and gliding in the chilly north wind.

Though some of the fields are greening and patches of purple henbit now add some color to the floodplain, it looked and felt more like March than April.  But the skies should clear by tomorrow and the potent April sun will reclaim the season; within a week, all signs of the flooding will likely disappear from the valley (unless, of course, another Pacific storm invades the Heartland).