Fall Migration on southwest Missouri grasslands

In the last days of September, two American Goldfinch nests still had nestlings

By Veronica Mecko

For the second year, MRBO staff is conducting fall migration bird surveys at Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie and Linscomb Wildlife Area in southwest Missouri. The surveys are conducted every day from Sept. 1 through Nov. 15, when the weather is favorable, so we are able to survey the entirety of each area nearly once every week. As of today, we have completed 6 rounds at Linscomb WA and 5 rounds at Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie.

Palm Warbler, photo by Erik Ost

Throughout September many of the species that breed on these areas continued to be observed, such as Dickcissel, Field Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Gray Catbird and Common Yellowthroat. Since mid-September we’ve observed species such as Orange-crowned, Wilson’s, Nashville and Palm Warblers and House Wren. In the last week of September, American Goldfinch nests still had nestlings in them.

LeConte’s Sparrow, photo by Erik Ost

By the first week of October, only a few Dickcissels were observed, but Lincoln’s and Song Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and warbler species such as Nashville and Tennessee were moving in. A LeConte’s Sparrow was observed at Wah-Kon-Tah Prairie last week also.

Swamp Sparrow, photo by Erik Ost

In the second week of October, northern migrants continue to arrive. A small group of Broad-winged Hawks were observed kettling with a Turkey Vulture and a few American Pipits were observed on Sunday at WKT. Also on Sunday was the beginning of the peak of Northern Flickers moving through with several hundred being counted so far. The trill of a Golden-crowned Kinglet was heard on Tuesday at Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie. On Wednesday at Linscomb WA, Dark-eyed Juncos, Fox Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Brown Creeper and a Hermit Thrush were observed. Lincoln’s, Swamp, White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows are seen in abundance at both sites now. Northern Harriers are more abundant also, with adult males and females and juveniles observed in the same morning.

In the overhead sky, groups of Double-crested Cormorants, Greater White-fronted Geese and Canada Geese have been observed.

Liatris species bouquet at Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie

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