Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Return to Eagle Bluffs

After a three month hiatus, I returned to Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area this morning.  Arriving just before dawn, I first encountered large, restless flocks of red-winged blackbirds and a lone flock of common grackles.

Mallards were abundant on the flooded fields, ponds and central channel, joined by a fair number of American coot, nine pied-billed grebes, a small group of northern shovelers and a single northern pintail.  Two bald eagles, a pair of northern harriers and a red-tailed hawk patrolled the Missouri floodplain refuge, great blue herons stalked the shallows and two belted kingfishers noisily hunted along the channel.  Killdeer, the only shorebirds encountered this morning, foraged on the mudflats while song, savannah and white-crowned sparrows were common along the roadways, joined by eastern bluebirds and American goldfinches.

Unfortunately, the southern half of Eagle Bluffs has already been closed to the public (to provide refuge for wintering waterfowl) and most of the northern half will soon be reserved for those humans who hope to kill them.  Such is the nature of modern Conservation Areas.