Date: 12/25/20 12:08 pm From: Andrew Reago <andrew.reago...> Subject: Columbia Bottom CA - Harris's Sparrow 12/24/20 (and Dickcissels) - also need help on super high count of WCSP
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We've had some interesting sightings as of late at Columbia Bottom CA. Short-eared Owls are back. Three Dickcissels popped up in a large flock of White-crowned Sparrows a few days ago for two days in a row between parking lots I and J, a Harris's Sparrow popped up in another large flock of White-crowned Sparrows just yesterday near the equipment shed, a dark morph Red-tailed Hawk was flying about with numerous other birds of prey - Merlins, unidentified Hawks, and more. What is also fascinating are the number of White-crowned Sparrows. They are everywhere - literally - all over the entire area. There are easily 400+. There are so 'crazy' many that, according to Josh Uffman, they defy the highest and only count of over 200 ever recorded for eBird in the entire state, and are 4 times the highest count ever for STL County. We'd be grateful if others would go and stop and count them, too - and put the actual number in your report on eBird - or our count seems insane to the reviewers. On one given day when we judiciously counted them, we found large flocks at the visitors center/parking lot area, the equipment shed area, at other stops along the gravel round, at the spot where the gravel road meets the asphalt road, then at spots along the asphalt road, and at the boat ramp - and we'd barely tapped the interior away from the roads. All along both roads, we made sure to keep a good distance between stops so as not to recount the birds, since they were flying about back and forth across the road. There are also tens of thousands of blackbirds - mostly red-winged and cowbirds - which make for some magnificent murmurations. Here's a link to an eBird report with photos of the Harris's Sparrow:https://ebird.org/checklist/S77941309  Here's a link to an eBird report with photos of one of the Short-eared Owls and one of the Dickcissels: https://ebird.org/checklist/S77767084 
We'll add more photos as we get around to editing. Thanks for any help on counting the White-crowned Sparrows. Andy Reago St. Louis MO <andrew.reago...>