A Random Five

Hello again and happy holidays.

These five were all taken at the confluence, either at RMBS or CBCA.

Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk

This gorgeous juvenile light-phase Rough-legged Hawk spent nearly a week at the confluence recently.  These infrequent winter residents nest up north, far north, like arctic circle north.  One of my favorite birds, it is always a pleasure to find one of these guys.  Sarah and I very much enjoyed this bird, nearly the size of a Red-tailed Hawk, as it hover-hunted much like what is seen by the American Kestrel.

The Rosses Came to Town
The Rosses Came to Town

Steve and I were tipped off to these Ross’s Geese at Teal Pond by a kind birder.  I can’t imagine a cuter bird.  Well, maybe a few.

The Marsh Hawk
The Marsh Hawk

This has really been my year with the Harriers.  I don’t know if it is luck, patience, or what.  This one drifted by closely yo me at CBCA recently.

Harlan's Hawk
Harlan’s Hawk

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the dark-phase Red-taileds invaded the confluence area.  I do not believe I have ever seen such a dark RTHA on the eastern side of Missouri before this one.

American Kestrel
American Kestrel

This handsome young Kestrel was quite cooperative in posing for me recently at RMBS.


Nesting Birds of Missouri – Grasshopper Sparrow

Sarah helped me nab this shot of a singing Grasshopper Sparrow recently at Confluence State Park.  It was interesting to me that out of such a large area of potential habitat, the only two birds we had singing this day were right on top of each other.


Nesting Birds of Missouri – Warbling Vireo

At riverine locals like RMBS, the warbling song of the Warbling Vireo can be heard all day long throughout the summer.  However, they have always given me grief when it came to getting a photograph – lurking shyly among the leafy branches of the Cottonwood.  This year, I hit a trail where I know they set territories for nesting.  Early in the spring, before the leaves expanded, I was able to follow this guy as he made the rounds and get some photos.

Warbling Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Warbling Vireo


The Marsh Chicken

These three images were taken this past September during a hike that Steve and I took around the Heron Pond area of RMBS.  By far the most commonly come across rail in this part of the world, the Sora, fills the perfect role of chicken in the fresh-water marshes.  I never get tired of watching these guys wade out into shallow open waters to feed, ready to sprint back into the cover of the marsh plants at the least sign of danger.  At just the peak of migration, I have been fortunate to see nearly 100 of these birds at Heron Pond at a given time.

IMG_0564“Suspiciously Sora”

IMG_0554“Sora with Snail”


“The Marsh Chicken”

The Tail Slap

This past May, Steve and I took a hike around the Heron Pond area at Riverlands.  To our surprise we found this Beaver swimming around near mid-day.  He seemed a bit upset by our presence, although the pond was quite large and we stuck to the levee trails.  Every few minutes he would give us a tail slap that was a bit intimidating.  Imagine making such a fuss over OZB!

I’m sorry to have been a bit absent on the blog the last few weeks.  Life has been a bit busy lately.  I am also working diligently (sort of) on a piece of photography news that I hope to reveal on the blog in the next week or two.  Stay tuned for the really big news!  😉



A Couple of Different Birds at Riverlands

I spent the AM hours at Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary and Columbia Bottom C.A. yesterday.  I mostly ran into lots of the usual: waterfowl, American Kestrels, Harriers, Eagles and an assortment of Sparrows.  Two birds at RMBS were a bit unusual.  The first was this juvenile, “Krider’s morph” light phase Red-Tailed Hawk.  I watched him at this perch for a while until one of the resident Eagles decided it was time for him to leave the tree.  I looked for him the rest of the morning, both at RMBS and CBCA, but never spotted him again.


Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera,  EF500mm f/4.5L USM lens, ISO 800,  f/6.3, 1/640 sec

The other bird that drew my attention was this guy below.  I am making no sure statements as to what this one is.  It mostly reminds me of an aberrant Canada Goose, i.e. partial leucistic.  However, the orange legs remind me of a Greater White-fronted Goose.  Perhaps a mix of some kind?  Hopefully the experts can shed some light…


Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera,  EF500mm f/4.5L USM lens, ISO 400,  f/6.3, 1/2000 sec