Iowa & Missouri: Summer 2019

Summer 2019: June 1–July 31

James J. Dinsmore

Recommended citation:

Dinsmore, J. Summer 2019: Iowa & Missouri. <> North American Birds.

Missouri experienced its coolest June since 2004 with temperatures 0.6 degrees below normal and July only returned to normal temperatures. After experiencing record-high rainfall totals from January through May, rainfall in Missouri continued above normal in both June and July. Weather in Iowa was fairly normal in June with both temperatures and rainfall close to long-term averages. In July, the state experienced somewhat above-average temperatures and below-normal rainfall totals.

The most important weather-related event in both states dates back to mid-March when the Missouri River and its tributaries began severe flooding that extended on into summer. Similar conditions started somewhat later along the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River was above flood stage at St. Louis for 144 days through 3 August and the Missouri River at Kansas City for the first half of June and again later in the month. The loss to both humans and wildlife is hard to comprehend. Hundreds of thousands of acres were flooded covering croplands, roadways, and river-bottom areas as farmers were unable to plant their fields. Many wildlife areas were flooded, including the region’s largest American White Pelican colony, and access to others was limited or prohibited. These two huge rivers showed again that human attempts to control and manage them sometimes are futile in the face of extreme weather conditions.

Regional highlights were an American Flamingo in Missouri and a Heermann’s Gull in Iowa. Other good finds were Iowa’s second and the region’s third summer records of both Glossy Ibis and Red Knot. Also of note were the first summer records of Winter Wren in Missouri and Palm Warbler in Iowa, and four reports of Red Crossbills in Iowa.

Contributors (state editors in boldface)

Steve Bingham, Aaron Brees , Diane Bricmont Mark R. Brown, Jeff Cantrell, Tom Caraway, Jeff Cantrell, Brandon C. Caswell, Dan Cowell, Varick Cowell, James J. Dinsmore, Stephen J. Dinsmore, Chris R. Edwards, Carolyn J. Fischer, Jim Forde,  Rob Francis, James L. Fuller, Allen Gathman, Malcolm Gold, Tommy Goodwin, Rita Goranson, Mark Haas, Tyler M. Harms, Brad Jacobs, Timothy Jones (TiJ), Joe D. Jungers, Tim Kavan, Peter Kondrashov, Trevor Leitz, Micky Louis, Charlene Malone, Jim Malone (JMa), Terry McNeely (TMc), Todd Miller (TMi), Pete Monacell, Joseph Mosley (JMo), Tom Nagel, Eric Ollie, Tom Parmeter, Mark Proescholdt, Bill Rowe, Tom S. Schilke, Lee A. Schoenewe, David Shealer, W. Ross Silcock, Mike Thelen, R. J. Thompson, Gerald Von Ehwegen, Edge Wade, Clayton Will.

Abbreviations: Donaldson Point (Donaldson Point C.A., New Madrid, MO); Dickinson landfill (Dickinson County landfill, Dickinson, IA); Forney Lake (Forney Lake, Fremont, IA); Hawkeye (Hawkeye W.A., Johnson, IA); Lake Manawa (Lake Manawa S.P., Pottawattamie, IA); Mokane Rd. (Mokane Road, Callaway, MO); Red Rock (Red Rock Reservoir, Marion, IA); Riverlands (Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, St. Charles, MO); Saylorville (Saylorville Reservoir, Polk, IA); Trumbull (Trumbull Lake, Clay, IA), Union Slough (Union Slough N.W.R, Kossuth, IA); Yellow River (Yellow River S.F., Allamakee, IA).

Whistling-Ducks through Cranes

Continuing the pattern of recent years, Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks occurred in both states. In Missouri they were found in 11 counties and St. Louis City, especially in the Bootheel with a high count of 29 at Nash Pond, Scott 7 Jun (Leon Book). Iowa had three reports; one 27 Jun in Mills (ph. Jeff Green, fide-Jerry Toll), as many as 11 at Lake Manawa 13-31 Jul (m.ob.), and one at Cedar Lake, Linn 23-31 Jul (ph. Bill Tollefson, ph. BCC, m.ob.). Iowa had numerous reports of Snow Geese, especially at Lake Manawa (m.ob.) with 19 there 20 Jul (Chris Alred). Ross’s Geese were found in both states; singles at Twin Chimneys, St. Louis, MO 19 Jun (TL), an injured adult at Little Wall Lake, Hamilton, IA 1-16 Jun (SJD), and one at Lake Manawa 21 Jun (DT, Carla Bregman). Single Greater White-fronted Geese were at Lower Morse Lake W.P.A., Wright and near Elm Lake, Wright, both 1 Jun (SJD). Iowa’s Trumpeter Swans had a good year with 50 nests producing 152 fledged young. With a breeding population now reestablished in northern Iowa, recent efforts have been in southern Iowa where 19 swans were released in 2019 (Iowa DNR). In Missouri, singles were at Loess Bluffs N.W.R., Holt MO 4 Jul (TN) and in Harrisonville, Cass 24 Jul (Ed Robinson).

Late waterfowl in Missouri were 10 Blue-winged Teal at Little Creve Coeur Lake, St. Louis including a courting pair 21 Jun (CM, JMa) and 10 in New Madrid 7 Jul (TK), a Northern Shoveler at Eagle Bluffs C.A., Boone 8 Jul (Josh Mosteller), a Green-winged Teal in New Madrid 7 Jul (†TK), single Ruddy Ducks in Perry 6 Jun (Kimberly Henshaw) and at Riverlands 8-31 Jul (BR, m.ob.), and 4 Northern Shovelers, 4 Gadwall, and 3 Northern Pintails, all at Duck Creek C.A., Wayne 1 Jun (MH). Lingering waterfowl in Iowa included 3 American Wigeons at Trumbull 10 Jun (LAS) and one at Sandhill Lake, Woodbury 12 Jun (SJD), a Bufflehead near Armstrong, Kossuth 10 Jun (Julie Johnston), and single Common Mergansers near Mason City, Cerro Gordo 13 Jun (Jeremy Klatt, Mary Hodak) and at Rock Creek P., Clinton 19 Jun (ph. KJM). Trumbull was a hotspot for Redheads with 29 birds including 11 pairs and a brood there 10 Jun (LAS). Other duck broods in Iowa were a Northern Shoveler in Hardin (MP), Redhead in Dickinson (SJD) and Woodbury (GLV), and Ruddy Duck in Humboldt (MP).

Gray Partridge were found in 14 mostly north-central and east-central Iowa counties south to Iowa and Polk (m.ob.). The only report of Iowa’s dwindling Ruffed Grouse population was one at Yellow River 9 Jun (Austin Lambert). Part of the region’s remnant population, 3 Greater Prairie-Chickens were at Missouri’s Taberville Prairie C.A., St. Clair 10 Jun (JMo) and one was heard and seen at Dunn Ranch Prairie, Harrison 29 Jul (MLs, Kathy Carroll, Sherry Leonardo, MG).

An amazing find in Missouri was an American Flamingo near Matthews, New Madrid 20 Jul (†TK) and then near Donaldson Point 20-21 Jul (†BJ, PMo, MT, m.ob.). The only previous records for the region are singles in 1959 and 1965 in Missouri, but their origin is unknown and they were considered likely escapees. Red-necked Grebes had a good year in Iowa with nests and/or chicks at Grover’s Lake, Dickinson (JDJ, LAS, SJD), Trumbull (SJD, LAS, MP, JDJ), and Union Slough (Tom Skilling fide SJD). The region’s only Eared Grebes were 2 at Trumbull 24 Jun (JLF). An apparent fallout of Western Grebes occurred in early June in Iowa with singles 3 Jun at Hawkeye and perhaps the same bird the next day at Amana Lily Lake, Iowa (JF, BCC, MHB, James McCoy, m.ob.), at George Wyth S.P., Black Hawk 3 Jun (TGS), and at Ames, Story 3-15 Jun (EO, Hank Zaletel, Tyler Grant, SJD, m.ob.). Others were a pair at Trumbull 10 Jun, 13 Jul (LAS, JDJ) and 3 there 24 Jun (JLF).

Iowa’s White-winged Doves were singles near Dunbar Slough, Greene 24 Jun (Kyla Yuza-Pate, details, Matt Stephenson) and in Lytton, Sac 14, 17 Jul (ph. Wendy Coffin Miller fide Carl Bendorf, ph. CW). In Missouri’s Bootheel where they have occurred in East Prairie, Mississippi for more than 10 years, a pair was also found in Kennett, Dunklin 2 Jun-31 Jul (Kent Freeman, TG) and another pair was far to the northwest in Alma, Lafayette 5 Jun-15 Jul (Bernard Ross).

Rare in Missouri’s Ozarks, single Greater Roadrunners were in Barry, Ozark, Ripley, Stone, Taney, and Texas, all on or near the Arkansas state line (m.ob.). Increasingly rare in Missouri, Black-billed Cuckoos were at Donaldson Point 2 Jun (m.ob.).

Rare in summer in Missouri, 2 Soras were heard near Bragg City, Pemiscot 21 Jul (TiJ).

Common Gallinules were found in seven north-central and eastern Iowa counties including a brood at Big Wall Lake, Wright 25 Jun (RGo, m.ob.) and up to 4 in Boone, St. Louis, and Buchanan in Missouri (m.ob.). Iowa’s Sandhill Cranes were in 18 counties (m.ob.) with a colt at Union Slough providing the first nesting record for Kossuth (fide Matt Kenne). The most were 18 at Otter Creek M., Tama 17 Jun (JF).  A banded Whooping Crane from the Wisconsin population was seen in northern Iowa near Swea City, Kossuth 9 Jun (ph. Mrs. Larry Eichenberger fide T.J. Herrick), and near Rake, Winnebago 9, 15 Jul (Tom Skilling fide T.J. Herrick, ph. CJF).

Shorebirds Through Terns

Two Black-necked Stilts at Riverlands 9-15 Jul (MT) and 2 near Marais Temps Clair C.A., 15 Jul (TP, BR) were in St Charles, away from southeastern Missouri where it is locally common. Late northbound shorebirds were 2 American Golden-Plovers and a Dunlin near Mason City, Cerro Gordo, IA 4 Jun (CJF) and 2 American Golden-Plovers in Pemiscot, MO 17 Jun (TK).

Southbound shorebird migration was fairly normal with most species arriving on schedule in early or mid-July and in relatively low numbers. Iowa had seven reports, mostly of single American Avocets in July but with 6 at Hawkeye 22 Jul (JF, m.ob.). In Missouri, American Avocets were seen in St. Charles 17-22 Jul (m.ob.), Boone 22 Jul (m.ob.), and Andrew 28 Jul (TN, Mike Hanson). A Black-bellied Plover at Winfield Lock and Dam, Lincoln 29 Jul (TP, BR) and one near Black Island C.A., Pemiscot 25 Jul (TJ) were early. The only Piping Plover reported was one at Hawkeye 27 Jul (JF).

The greatest counts of sandpipers were 80 Least Sandpipers at Hawkeye 27 Jul (Deb Rolfes, Mark Rolfes), 228 Stilt Sandpipers at Red Rock (SJD) and 340 Pectoral Sandpipers at Saylorville (AB), both 28 Jul in Iowa, and 885 Pectoral Sandpipers at Mokane Rd. 26 Jul (Paul McKenzie) and 40 Greater Yellowlegs in New Madrid, MO 10 Jul (Jeremy Webster). Seven adult Red Knots at Saylorville 27 Jul (SJD) and 5 still there 28, 29 Jul (†AB, †TMH, m.ob.) constitute Iowa’s second and the region’s third summer record. Previous records were in Iowa in 1995 and Missouri in 2003. Good finds among southbound birds in Iowa were an early Willet at Spring Run W.A., Dickinson 24 Jun (LAS), a Hudsonian Godwit 22 Jul in Woodbury (GLV), 2 Marbled Godwits at Hawkeye 27 Jul (JF), single Ruddy Turnstones at Saylorville and Hawkeye, both 27 Jul (SJD, JF), and an adult Western Sandpiper at Red Rock 28 Jul (SJD).

Mokane Rd., Callaway was Missouri’s shorebird hotspot with a Ruddy Turnstone 26 Jul (PMo), 2 Sanderlings 27-29 Jul (m.ob.), an early Baird’s Sandpiper 29 Jul (PMo), 2 Western Sandpipers 26-31 Jul (m.ob.), and an early Wilson’s Snipe 30 Jul (PMo). Other good finds in Missouri were a Sanderling at Cooley Lake C.A., Clay 28 Jul (SB), a Baird’s Sandpiper in St. Charles 30 Jul (DBr, Gail Gagnon), a Western Sandpiper at Shell-Osage C.A., Vernon 29 Jul (Joseph Mosley), a Wilson’s Snipe near Bragg City, Pemiscot 17 Jul (TG), and up to 4 Wilson’s Phalaropes near Hartsburg, Boone 18-22 Jul (m.ob.), and one at Riverlands 24 Jul (David Becher).

The region’s only Bonaparte’s Gulls were 5 juveniles at Hawkeye 30 Jul (JF). A hybrid Black-headed x Ring-billed Gull at the Dickinson landfill 5 Jun (SJD) presumably was the same bird that has been seen several times in recent years. The 8700 Franklin’s Gulls at the Dickinson landfill 27 Jul (JDJ) is a high summer count for the species. In Missouri, one or 2 were found at Riverlands and two sites in Jackson (m.ob.). A juvenile Heermann’s Gull at Saylorville 28 Jul (ph., †AB, RJT) was seen by many on 29 Jul (†John Bissell, ph., †TMH, ph., m.ob.) but not thereafter. The region’s only Ring-billed Gull colony continued at Meinking Marsh, Dickinson, IA 5 Jun (SJD). Other good gull finds were three reports of Herring Gull in Iowa (KJM, Paul Roisen) and two in Missouri (m.ob.), and a basic adult California Gull at the Dickinson landfill 5 Jun (SJD). The latter bird was probably a continuing bird from spring and the region’s seventh and Iowa’s fifth summer record.

Least Terns had good nesting success on barges at Riverside with 47 nests producing more than 60 chicks (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). Other than one at Hartsburg, Boone 18 Jul (PMo), Missouri’s other reports were along the lower Missouri River (m.ob.). Iowa’s only Least Terns were three reports at MidAmerican Ponds, Pottawattamie (JLF, DTh). Black Terns nested in north-central Iowa with nesting behavior noted at Eagle Flats W.A., Hancock 24 Jun and three active nests at Myre Slough, Winnebago 25 Jul (both DAS). Migrant Black Terns were found in six Missouri counties with 59 at Horseshoe Lake, Buchanan 27 Jul (TMc). The most southbound Forster’s Terns were 141 at Saylorville 27 Jul (SJD), an unusually high count for Iowa.

Loons Through Falcons

Up to 3 Common Loons were found at seven sites in Iowa (m.ob.) and singles were at Stockton Lake, Cedar, MO 22 Jun (Ruben Stoll) and at Riverlands 17-31 Jul (m.ob.), about typical for summer. Rare in Iowa, a subadult Neotropic Cormorant was at Elm Lake, Wright 1 Jun (ph. SJD). Double-crested Cormorants were seen throughout Iowa including 261 in Clinton 19 Jun but the nesting colony there, active since 2007, was not active this year because high water covered the island until mid-June (KJM). Iowa’s only reported colony at Forney Lake had 27 nests 26 Jul (WRS). American White Pelicans were common throughout Iowa with the highest count 850 at Forney Lake 15 Jul (WRS). As with the cormorants, their nesting colony in Clinton, active since 2007, was not active this year (KJM).

Single American Bitterns were found at three Missouri and four Iowa sites (m.ob.). A large heronry in urban St. Louis City, MO contained 147 Little Blue Heron nests as well as many Great Egret, Snowy Egret, and Black-crowned Night-Heron nests. When found, many of the trees were being trimmed or removed but local pressure stopped that at least temporarily (m.ob.). One or two Little Blue Herons were at Settle’s Ford C.A., Bates 1 Jun, in Barry 22 Jun, and at Montrose C.A., Henry 10, 27, Jul (DC, VC, Jeremy Coleman), all in Missouri. Missouri had Cattle Egret reports from 14 counties (m.ob.), about typical for summer. Iowa’s Cattle Egrets were singles at three sites, all in July (Sam Manning, Tony Moline, RGo, CJF). Iowa’s only Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was one at Sedan W.A., Appanoose 5 Jul (Tom Johnson). A Glossy Ibis at Hawkeye 8 Jun (ph., †JF) was Iowa’s second and the region’s third summer record. Previous records were in Missouri in 1968 and Iowa in 2008.

With breeding pairs now reestablished in both states, Ospreys were found in numerous locations throughout the region (m.ob.). Missouri had single Northern Harriers at Prairie S.P., Barton 11 Jun (Anjeanette Levings, Noah Carter) and Bradford Farm, Boone 17 Jul (Shelby Thomas).

Secretive and relatively uncommon, single Sharp-shinned Hawks were reported in Randolph 7 Jun (EW), Cole 10 Jun (EW), and Reynolds 4 Jul (Jill Bryant) in Missouri. At Little Creve Coeur Lake, St. Louis, 45 Mississippi Kites were seen 16 Jun (CM, JMa), an all-time high count for Missouri. In Iowa, up to 3 were seen at traditional sites in Wapello and Polk, Iowa (m.ob.). Single Broad-winged Hawks were found at two sites in Adair 7 Jun, 24-25 Jul (PK) and in Atchison 2 Jul (Jon Hill), all in northern Missouri where rare in summer. Rare in summer, one or two Swainson’s Hawks were in Bates, Christian, Dade, Greene, Newton, Platte, and St. Clair (m.ob.) in western Missouri.

The region’s only Barn Owls were singles in Clinton 12 Jun (Terry Miller) and Johnson 8-12 Jun (DC, VC), both in Missouri. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were found in seven northern Iowa counties and south to Louisa (m.ob.). Two Merlins at the Dysart dump, Tama 11 Jul and 4 there 13 Jul (Mary Ann Gregory), and 5 in Waterloo, Black Hawk 20 Jul near where a pair nested in 2016 (TSS), and an adult and a juvenile nearby 22 Jul (David Eastman) were suggestive of recent nesting. The region’s only recent Merlin nesting records were two nests in 2016.

Flycatchers though Siskin

Both states reported numerous late migrant flycatchers. These included Olive-sided Flycatchers in Cooper, MO 9 Jun (TMc) and in Clinton, IA 19 Jun (record late, KJM), a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in Christian, MO 3-6 Jun (Gary and Laura Lee Swant, Caleb Lashway), and an Alder Flycatcher near Nevada, Story, IA 5, 18 Jun that acted territorial and might have been trying to nest (Bruce Ehresman). A Least Flycatcher calling at Union Ridge C.A., Adair, MO 25 Jun (†Matt Longabaugh) was late and one at Clear Creek W.A., Allamakee 7 Jul (CRE) was in an area of Iowa where it may have nested. One at Saylorville 31 Jul (SJD) was an early southbound migrant. Iowa had reports of Loggerhead Shrikes from 11 sites scattered across the state (m.ob.), more than most recent years. Away from western and southeastern Missouri, one was in St. Charles 19 Jul (TC, David Haenni, Doug Hommert) where it is rare.

Away from northern and western Missouri where regular, Bell’s Vireos were found in Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, New Madrid, and Stoddard in southeastern Missouri (m.ob.). A Blue-headed Vireo at Binder Lake, Cole 5 Jun (PMo) was Missouri’s second latest spring date. Late Philadelphia Vireos in Iowa were singles at Harmon Lake W.A., Winnebago (Richard Sayles) and Kettleson Hogsback W.A., Dickinson, both 1 Jun (LAS, JDJ). A Red-breasted Nuthatch near Boone, Boone, IA 16 Jun (Larry Dau) was the region’s only report. A Winter Wren in Russellville, Cole 18-24 Jun (†Chris Barrigar) constituted Missouri’s first summer record. Unexpected were single Marsh Wrens at Lake Contrary, Buchanan 22-30 Jul (TMc, TN, Joannne Dial), Weston Bend S.P., Platte (Eugene Riggs), and Weldon Springs C.A., St. Charles 25 Jul (TL) in Missouri. Late Swainson’s Thrushes were singles at Tower Grove P, St. Louis City, MO (Jay Balvin) and Clay and Polk, IA (LAS, KVS), all 2 Jun.

For the third summer in the past four years, Iowa had Red Crossbills, with four reports: 2 in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie 16 Jun (Laurie Anderson-ph, fide TMH), up to 12 at Orange City, Sioux 20, 21 Jun (ph. Dan Renking), 5 near Webb, Clay 23 Jun (fide CW-ph.), and one in Ames, Story 25 Jul (William Crow fide Jennifer Owen). Most appeared to be juvenile birds, probably from nesting populations west of Iowa. Pine Siskins in Iowa included up to 5 from 1 Jun-2 Jul in Mason City, Cerro Gordo where they nested (Paul Hertzel, CJF), and singles in Norwalk, Warren (Jay Gilliam), Sioux City, Woodbury (DT), Ames, Story (Shane Patterson), and Greene, Butler (Bruce Burroughs), all in early June. Missouri’s only Pine Siskin was one 11 Jul in Jackson (Raymond Dake).

Sparrows through Cardinalids

Rare in southeastern Missouri, up to 4 Grasshopper Sparrows were found in Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, New Madrid, Perry, and Scott (m.ob.). All reports of Clay-colored Sparrow came from Dickinson, Lyon, and Worth along Iowa’s northern boundary (m.ob.). A late White-throated Sparrow was at Shaw Nat. Res., Franklin, MO 16 Jun (†Yvonne Homeyer). A Vesper Sparrow at Dunn Ranch, Harrison 28 Jul (MG, et al.) was a rare find for northwestern Missouri as were single Song Sparrows at Ruth and Paul Henning C.A. 8 Jun (Malise Prieto) and in Hollister (Kathleen Wann), both in Taney in southwestern Missouri. Iowa’s Henslow’s Sparrows were found in 22 counties, mainly in the eastern half of Iowa (m.ob.) with 24 at Indiangrass Hills, Iowa 29 Jul the most (James McCoy).

A Yellow-headed Blackbird in Dunklin, MO 28 Jun (†TK), and 2 Bobolinks at Otter Slough C.A., Stoddard, MO 7 Jun (RF) were far south of their usual ranges. Up to 3 Western Meadowlarks were found in Atchison, Buchanan, and Harrison in northwestern Missouri (m.ob.) where they are permanent residents. Great-tailed Grackles were in 13 counties scattered across Iowa (m.ob.) with 65 at Secret Lake, Fremont 15 Jul (WRS) the most.

Rare in northern Missouri, this summer the state had numerous sightings of Ovenbirds including three sites in Adair and also in Clark, Lewis, Putnam, and Sullivan (m.ob.). The only Worm-eating Warblers were singles in Adair, MO 7-14 Jun (PK) and in Winneshiek 23 Jun (DAS) in northeastern Iowa. Single Black-and-white Warblers in Louisa 3 Jul (KJM) and Des Moines 25 Jul (K. Gustafson) in Iowa may have summered or been early migrants. The region’s only Swainson’s Warblers were one 1, 13 Jun at Greer Crossing, Oregon (Debbie and Steve Martin, ph, Michael Taylor) and a pair at Donaldson Point 21 Jul (Gary Langell, Amy Kearns, Cathy Meyer), both in southern Missouri. Late spring warblers included a Mourning Warbler in Clinton, MO 2 Jun (SB), and a record-late Nashville Warbler in Des Moines, Polk 13 Jun (Karen Viste-Sparkman, Stewart Sparkman), a Magnolia Warbler in Polk 2 Jun (RJT), single Blackpoll Warblers in Hardin and Dickinson and 4 in Hamilton, all 1 Jun (TSS, JDJ, LAS, SJD), and Iowa’s first summer Palm Warbler at Lower Morse Lake W.P.A., Wright 25 Jun (RGo, details), all in Iowa. Away from their usual eastern Iowa range were 3 Kentucky Warblers in Waubonsie S.P., Fremont and 2 in Lewis and Clark P., Pottawattamie, near the Missouri River in western Iowa, both 8 Jun (DT). Most of Iowa’s Cerulean Warblers were in Allamakee and Dubuque in northeastern Iowa (m.ob.) with a high count of 8 at Yellow River 5 Jul (RGo). Away from their usual range in southern Missouri were single Pine Warblers in St. Charles, Camden, Franklin, and St. Louis (m.ob.). Iowa’s only Pine Warbler was one in Shimek S.F., Lee 4 Jun (DAS) where expected. A Yellow-rumped Warbler at Chert Hollow Farm, Boone, MO 8 Jun tied the old late record (Joanna Reuter) and one at El Dorado Springs, Cedar 13 Jun (†JMo) set a new late date. In Missouri, a Prairie Warbler was found far north at Union Ridge C.A., Sullivan 4 Jun (Sarah Kendrick). Iowa’s Prairie Warblers, continuing from spring, were one or two in Shimek S.F., Lee 9, 16 Jun (JF, BCC, ph. MHB, et al.).

Besides the expected Blue Grosbeaks in western and southeastern Iowa and the increasing number from recently occupied counties in east-central, north-central, and central Iowa (m.ob.), reports from Franklin and Humboldt (RGo, EO) were at new locations as this species continues to expand its Iowa range. North of their usual southwestern Missouri range, a Painted Bunting first found in May near Emmenegger Nat. P., St. Louis remained until 16 Jun (TG, m.ob.), and 3, including an immature, were in Jefferson City, Cole 9 Jun-23 Jul (ph. m.ob.). One near Sioux City in Plymouth 13 Jun (ph. Kathy Coffin) was Iowa’s fourth summer record.


Over the past several decades, Western Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers have both rapidly expanded their ranges in Missouri and continued to do so in 2019. Western Kingbirds, which historically nested mostly in northern and west-central Missouri, were reported in central, east-central, and southeastern Missouri outside the species’ usual range. Reports this summer included up to 7 in Boone (m.ob.), Callaway (m.ob.), Audrain (EW, Kathleen Anderson, Rodney Wright), Scott (including 2 adults and 3 chicks in a nest, MH, TK), St. Charles (m.ob.), St. Louis (m.ob), St. Louis City (including one that apparently was catching a game at Busch Stadium) (m.ob.), and singles in Mississippi (BJ, PMo) and Pemiscot (TiJ), and 2 each in Jasper (JC) and Newton (JC) in southwestern Missouri. Timothy Jones visited a number of power substations in southeastern Missouri’s Bootheel and located Western Kingbird nests at three substations and a power plant in Malden, Dunklin, two at substations and one at an industrial park in Kennett, Dunklin, one at a substation near Senath, Dunklin, and two at substations in New Madrid, New Madrid.

Likewise, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher continued to expand its range. Currently casual in northern and rare in southeastern Missouri, but uncommon elsewhere in summer, this year they were found in two northern counties; Daviess (TMc) and Harrison (JMo) and in six southeastern counties as well; Butler (Joseph McPhail, TG); Cape Girardeau (MH, Allen Gathman), Carter  (Shelby Timm, TK), Dunklin (TiJ), New Madrid (TiJ, DBr, Andrew Rights), Ripley (RF), Scott (TK), and Stoddard (TiJ). Three of these Scissor-tailed Flycatcher sightings also were at power substations. These sightings are a continuation of a range expansion that has been going on for at least several decades. In neighboring Iowa, in recent decades Western Kingbirds have extended their range east from their historic range along the Missouri River in western Iowa and now are established in the Des Moines area. A family group near Council Bluffs in western Iowa in August 2015 is the only recent nesting record of Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Iowa. Allen Gathman and James J. Dinsmore.

Report processed by Byron Swift, 26 Oct 2020.

Photos–Iowa & Missouri: Summer 2019
Hover or click on each image to read the caption.