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My Life’s Birds: #118

August 27, 2008
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January 8, 1994 – Fellow’s Lake, Greene Co, Mo – One of the best things about Christmas Bird Counts, especially first Christmas Bird Counts, is the possibility that you’re made aware brand new birding locations that were previously foreign to you. My dad and I were already regulars at Lake Springfield, a small reservoir in the south part of town, but the lake was shallow and good only for dabbling ducks. Fellow’s Lake was deeper, larger, and more suitable for diving ducks.

We’d often take off on the trip up there ever since the CBC, looking for anything different. It was only a matter of time then, that we’d run into Lesser Scaup, as we did one January morning. We spent no small bit of time trying to make the distinction between the Lessers and their greater counterparts, before realizing that as a salt-water bird, Greaters were the far less likely species. We settled on the Lesser identification, one that we realized as we became more comfortable with the expected winter birds in southwest Missouri in the years that passed was the correct call.

It wasn’t until we found a Greater Scaup sometime later that we realized all the hand-wringing that day had been for naught. But that’s a story for another time.

photo from wikipedia

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