An Evening at Eagle Bluffs

Of my hundreds of trips to Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, on the Missouri River floodplain, the great majority have occurred in the morning.  Yesterday, enticed by mild, sunny weather, a fellow birder and I opted for an evening visit.

Rewarded with serene vistas and the mellow tones of evening light, we saw a large number of great blue herons and great egrets, concentrated by the drying summer landscape.  They were joined by a lone black-crowned night heron, killdeer, spotted sandpipers and a few wood duck families.  Indigo buntings were abundant in the open woodlands and a trio of bald eagles patrolled the refuge.  White-tailed deer were especially common in the waning daylight and restless flocks of red-winged blackbirds swirled above the darkening floodplain.  Other sightings included yellow-billed cuckoos, Baltimore and orchard orioles, dickcissels and lark sparrows.

Not a morning person by nature, I thoroughly enjoyed our evening visit to Eagle Bluffs.  Indeed, it reminded me of my early birding years when, after a day at the hospital, I would escape to local parks and nature preserves to hone my skills and to decompress.