My Life’s Birds: #120-121
January 19, 1994 – Springfield, Mo – Following our first experience in the Springfield Christmas Bird Count, my dad and I were suddenly flush with the knowledge of new birding locales across the area that we were previously unaware of. One of these places was the unlikely birding hotspot of Southern Hills, an older housing development on the south side of Springfield. People had always told us that this particular neighborhood was the place to be in the winter. It wasn’t until we got around to visiting that we found out why.
Winding through the neighborhood, one of Springfield’s oldest and once the most prestigious in the age before the McMansion craze moved folks outside the city limits, lies a series of ponds connected by quiet canals. Many of the homes even have bridged driveways to cross the old brick troughs beneath which lies one of Springfield’s most improbable wetland. And where, while tooling through the streets we found the first of many species of waterfowl; Mallards, Teal, Canada Geese, Hooded Mergansers and my first American Wigeons.
The waterfowl in the area were mostly dabblers, but also Ring-necked Ducks, those divers that are most likely to be found in smaller ponds. The big draw to Southern Hills ponds though, are the Mute Swans. There are usually around seven of them, and they breed, but their providence is a mystery. Therefore, for the purposes of listing, they are that worst of all non-native birds, the one you can’t even count. It would be nearly 15 years later will I would get my life countable Mute Swans.
I shouldn’t be picky though, two new birds isn’t bad at all.