Springfield CBC highlights

2006 December 17

GREENE CO., MO. — I do like to finish a long day strong, and we did that today (or yesterday, by the time that I’ll click “publish”). Our group started the Springfield Christmas Bird Count hunting unsuccessfully for owls, but we finished with one bird that hasn’t been reported on this count for over 40 years and another that may need documentation to record its very unusual winter presence in the state.

The Greater White-fronted Goose that flew over Fellows Lake at sunset was a good bird, an unexpected bird. But I didn’t know how good it was until I checked historical data for the Springfield count circle. The goose has been recorded only once before, and that was during the 1962-63 season!

We wouldn’t have seen the goose, though, had it not been for the Eared Grebe that grabbed our attention as it dived near the shore in search of food. A faint memory told me that the species usually doesn’t hang around this late, so I huffed and puffed back to the car to retrieve my camera before light faded or the bird swam away.

eared-grebe-podiceps-nigricollis

Don’t let the awful quality of this record shot fool you. We had brilliant scope views of the grebe that made five grown men oo and ah! According tothe September ’05 state list, Missouri has had fewer than 15 accepted winter records of the species, which may mean we need to send in a documentation form. Hopefully this photo will show the important field marks satisfactorily.

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