Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Grand Reopening

Now that the duck hunters have completed their tour of duty, the northern 2/3 of Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area has reopened for birders and naturalists; the southern third remains closed as a refuge for wintering ducks.

On this sunny but cold morning, it was a pleasure to access most of the preserve.  A couple of thousand mallards still dominated the scene but gadwalls, northern shovelers and green-winged teal were observed as well; the highlight was the presence of 44 trumpeter swans, a quarter of which were immature.  Raptors were represented by bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, a Cooper's hawk and a red-shouldered hawk.

Within a few more weeks, the spring migration will commence at Eagle Bluffs as large flocks of snow geese, greater white-fronted geese and early American white pelicans stop to rest and feed on the Missouri River floodplain.  The winter shutdown has ended and some of the best days at this fabulous refuge are just a month away.