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St. Louis Audubon Society
Field Trip Report for Saturday, January 13, 2007
Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, St. Charles County

The first wave of the latest winter storm that began January 12 spent most of its energy by the time the trip was scheduled to begin.  There were five of us at the starting point -- Teal Pond parking lot -- and while the freezing rain seemed to be dissipating, and visibility improving, we decided to go birding.

As the day progressed, winds picked up a little, fog increased and degraded viewing some, and it felt colder, but we ended up having an OK trip nonetheless.

Highlights for the day included:

--  TUNDRA SWAN, 2.  In Teal Pond.  They shared the pool with one lone Snow Goose, Canada Geese, Trumpeter Swans, Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler and Green-winged Teal.  There were a few Ring-necked Ducks in Pintail Pond.
--  SNOW GOOSE, 300.  One flock of 200 flew over us while we were on Riverlands Way and it was beautiful to hear them first, then see the birds emerge into view from the low-level clouds, ghostlike, and finally fade out of view.
--  AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, 2.  In the Illinois highway 143 slough.  Nice, close-up looks for a change.
--  GREATER SCAUP, 2.  Near the Illinois terminal of the Clark Bridge.
--  MERGANSERS.  All three species today.
--  WILD TURKEY, 2.  In the Illinois highway 143 slough.
--  NORTHERN BOBWHITE, 10.  Seen only by me before the start of the trip, along Riverlands Way close to the equipment sheds.
--  PIED-BILLED GREBE, 6.  Ellis Bay.
--  PEREGRINE FALCON, 1.  An adult, perched on the lock and dam 26 wall.
--  GLAUCOUS GULL, 1.  1st winter gull perched on a lock shed.  We also saw one bedraggled Ring-billed Gull whose head feathers appeared to be mostly gone, but might have been simply slicked down by the rain and ice.  It was walking, but didn't (or couldn't) fly while we were there.  It could eat, picking up a worm from the parking lot.  One visiting family of eagle viewers seemed to be pretty excited about their chance to look at the Glaucous Gull, instead of (scarce) eagles.
--  GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL, 1.  One possible candidate for a 2nd winter bird.  This one was tricky and there was quite a bit of discussion afterwards, as we had only a short across-the-river look.  The bird was behind Ring-billed Gulls and one Herring Gull, all perched on the lock.  Even in the background the bird appeared to be larger than the Herring.  It had a mostly whitish head, neck and underparts contrasting with a darker back which had a checkered pattern.  The bill was fleshy colored with a black tip, and we're reasoning that it was not a young Herring Gull because of the size difference and color contrast.
--  BELTED KINGFISHER, 1.  In the Illinois highway 143 slough.

50 species for the half-day trip.  A couple of photos posted here:  http://mike-thelen.smugmug.com/gallery/2351206.

Given the new ice, slick roads and more power outages, we of course hope everyone is safe and that electricity is restored speedily to those who lost it.

Mike Thelen
St. Louis County, MO
Old email address:  [log in to unmask]
New email address:  [log in to unmask]

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