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I birded LCCL this morning.  I saw all the birds that David mentions below
(except his mystery bird), the young PBGs are really cute.  I also had two
immature Black-crowned Night Herons.

As for access, after parking at the red barns and hiking through the fields,
I suggest parking at the end of Maryland Heights Expressway.  Although the
fields are planted, they have waste high plants, of which thistle is part of
the make up.  There are also hidden Groundhog holes, hidden little creeks,
and at the end of the hike a fairly steep drainage ditch.

Mike Grant
Chesterfield

-----Original Message-----
From: MO Wild Bird Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of
David Becher
Sent: Saturday, June 05, 2004 11:17 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Visit to LCC


I spent about two hours 6-8 am at Little Creve Coeur in St. Louis County
this morning.  Standing by (not on) the bicycle path at the north end of the
marsh, I was able to scan the area.  I saw American and Least Bittern, and
Common Moorhen (Thanks Jean) as well as PBG and American Coot.  There were
also Mallards, Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, and a pair of Ruddy Ducks.  The
Moorhens were seen along the edges of the largest open area and towards the
south (far) end.  They were clearly identifiable in binoculars, but a scope
was a plus.  The PBGs and Coots are clearly nesting and young birds are
already present.  In addition, at least two active PBG nests can be seen
from the area of the bicycle path.

In addition to all of this, I had what I can only describe as a mystery
bird.  It was at the south end and I only saw it in binoculars and very
briefly so I was not able to get a clear ID.  At about 6:15 am I saw was a
large bird (heron sized) which flew across part of the marsh, hovered
briefly, and dropped out of sight into or behind the reeds.  It was a brown
slightly cinnamon color and when it hovered it appeared to have a long tail,
but I did not see a white rump.  The only possibility that seemed consistent
with what I saw is Short-eared Owl, but it seems quite late for that species
and the area where it appeared to land is as far as I know flooded.  I know
that Short-eared Owls nest in marshy areas, but I did not think that they
would nest in area that was actually flooded.  If you are out there and see
anything that might explain this sighting I would appreciate knowing about
it.

There are two ways to easily reach the bicycle path.  The easiest is to go
to the end of Maryland Heights Expressway where it meets the Page Extension.
There is an area there where it is possible to pull off and park.  There are
no signs saying that parking is not permitted.  From there it is just a step
over the guard rail and a short walk through the grass to the bicycle path.
If you do not wish to do this (and I would not on weekdays at rush hour),
you can also park at the red sheds as usual and walk north through the
fields which are not planted this year, until you reach the path.  This is a
bit longer and harder going, but doable.

David Becher
St. Louis

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*        Audubon Society of Missouri's           *
*         Wild Bird Discussion Forum             *
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