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The highlight of this trip was unquestionably the Black Skimmer found at Lincoln Shields at REDA.  We arrived there about 2:30 and I began scanning the gulls hoping for a Caspian Tern or something similar.  I quickly noticed an unusual looking bird sitting with some Ring-billed Gulls.  It was too small to be a Caspian Tern and too large to be a Common.  Then it turned its head and I saw the bill!  Nothing else really looks like a Skimmer.  It was sitting facing us and took a few minutes to convince the rest of the group (not to mention myself) that I was not losing it.  We watched it for about 45 minutes and saw it standing, flying, and feeding.  This is a first area record and as far as I know a first state record.  

Even without the Skimmer, this would have been a pretty good day of birding.  We started in Tower Grove Park in St. Louis which had a good variety of migrants.  The best warbler of the day was a Wilson's, but there were good numbers of Nashville, Black-throated Green, Magnolia, Redstart, Chestnut-sided, and Ovenbird as well as Parula, Tennessee, and others.  There was also a large flock of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, at least one Scarlet Tanager, and a variety of Flycatchers including, East Wood Pewee, Phoebe, Yellow-breasted, Great Crested, and various unidentifiable empids.  We also had excellent looks at Yellow-billed Cuckoo among other things.

Horseshoe Lake for lunch was fairly empty, although there are still a lot of Little Blue Herons on Collinsville Rd.  Then we went to REDA.  When we finally tore ourselves away from the Skimmer we went to Heron Pond.  That produced two Avocets, two Wilson's Phalaropes, a Black-bellied Plover as well as both Yellowlegs, Pectoral and Semipalmated Sandpiper and a flock of ducks including Am. Widgeon, Shoveler, and Mallard as well as lots of Blue-winged Teal.  On the main water were the usual Pelicans and Cormorants.  Overall it would have been a good day even without the spectacular bird.

There is still nothing like adding a bird to your list to reenergize oneself in birding.

David Becher
St. Louis

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