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Report for Saturday, February 18, 2006


I joined the St. Louis Audubon Society field trip to Baldwin Lake
(Randolph County), and Peabody-River King State Fish & Wildlife Area
(St. Clair County), Illinois, today.  Many thanks to Torrey Berger for
leading the group.


It was bitter cold today, with a biting wind.  The wind chill this
morning registered at -10F.  It was impossible to see the middle of
Baldwin Lake due to the steam fog, or what New Englanders call "sea
smoke."  At one point I saw a STEAM DEVIL, or funnel of rotating air
rising vertically from the lake's surface -- perhaps 200 feet -- like a
waterspout.


Not many ducks today, with these species represented:  GADWALL, MALLARD,
NORTHERN PINTAIL, RING-NECKED DUCK, LESSER SCAUP.  Nor were there many
sparrows; they seemed to be keeping down and out of the wind:  AMERICAN
TREE SPARROW, SAVANNAH SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW,
DARK-EYED JUNCO.  Even the RED-TAILED HAWKs weren't soaring much.


I've posted a few of my photos from today's trip at:
http://mike-thelen.smugmug.com/gallery/1213856.


Highlights for me today included...

--  ~2,000  Snow Goose
--       2  Ross's Goose (thanks to Torrey for finding the first one; I
found the second)
--       4  Cackling Goose
--     ~30  Northern Pintail
--       2  Wild Turkey (on the drive home)
--       1  Pied-billed Grebe
--       9  American White Pelican
--       1  Bald Eagle
--       1  Northern Harrier
--     ~10  Red-tailed Hawk
--     ~20  American Kestrel (common today, throughout the countryside)
--     ~10  American Coot
--      ~5  Killdeer
--       1  Wilson's Snipe
--     ~25  Bonaparte's Gull


Mike Thelen
St. Louis County, Missouri
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