A Bird's-eye View of Eagle Bluffs

Returning to Colorado this morning, I flew out of Columbia Regional Airport, in central Missouri.  The plane took off to the south and then banked westward, crossing the Missouri River just south of Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area.

Fortunately, I had a window seat on the right side of the aircraft and was treated to a fabulous view of that floodplain preserve, my favorite birding location in the Midwest (see Ding Darling of the Midwest).  While I have often explored its many pools, channels, marshes and woodlands at ground level, I have never observed them from above.

Indeed, I realized that my perspective matched that of migrant waterfowl, pelicans, cormorants and shorebirds as they arrive from the south each spring.  Though water levels are currently low across the floodplain, the result of an ongoing drought, it was obvious why this refuge is a magnet for those migrants as they travel up the Missouri Valley, on their way to northern breeding grounds.