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While scanning through shorebirds this morning I
found a Snowy Plover amongst the hordes of other
birds. I watched the bird for a minute then 
continued counting, expecting to move closer to 
the bird in a few minutes to get some pictures. 
When I did finally move the car I was unable to
relocate the Snowy even though I checked the entire
area. I was not able to find it later in the day
either though the birds dispersed throughout the
lagoon as the tide fell. The only other birds of
interest were two mergansers, seen briefly and at a 
distance, in company with a pair of Greater Scaup.
The mergansers looked awfully pale to me so keep an
eye out. While nothing else noteworthy was seen
there were some impressive numbers: Dunlin 2250, 
Western Sandpiper 1130, Semipalmated Plover 800
and Black-bellied Plover 45. Fourteen Lesser
Black-backed Gulls was also a good number. They
usually dwindle to 1 or 2, if any, by mid-December
returning at the end of January.

On the way home I stopped at the strip mine area
SE of MacClenny and found that the flock of geese
that had been absent for three days, apparently due
to backhoe activity in their field, had returned.
The Greater White-fronted Goose was still with them.
Across the street, amongst the throng of four to
five thousand gulls, I managed to pick out my second 
Great Black-backed for the county. Conting to scan,
I eventually located a Lesser Black-backed just 
molting into 2nd winter plumage, a new county bird.
The flock of pipits returned to the roadside location
I first saw them at last week but I was unable to 
locate the Longspur. Several Bald Eagles of various
ages kept buzzing the gulls giving me a good indication
of how mnay birds there were. As I was scanning these
through binoculars and being suitable impressed I
eventually notices the activity above and around the
trash mountain at the dump about a mile away. At a 
conservative guess there were approximately 20,000
gulls strewn through the air and looking like a cloud
of confetti against the dark clouds in the background.

Bob Richter
Baker County

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