Birds of note: C Moorhens, Least Terns, Mississippi Kite, Black-necked Stilts, YB Cuckoo
We started off at Horseshoe Lake 111 causeway to see if the Least Terns were still around from last Saturday...not from the causeway, though we sighted a few DC Cormorants perched up on sticks in the main lake; and there were three sets of Mallards with various sizes of young. As we turned around to drive around the lake, Margaret spotted two (a pair of ?) Common Moorhens close to the shore and out in the open sunshine. Two Mute Swans were in the duck impoundment. On the drive around the lake, after going over the mini-causeway, Richard Coles saw two least terns flying near shore and battling the winds. Everyone had fleeting looks.
On to Columbia Bottom to see if we had better luck than the last trip two weeks ago re the Black-necked Stilts. Parked again opposite Pool 2 and walked
in. Richard spotted a distant single stilt and we put the a scope on it for good looks by all. It disappeared, but a flying Mississippi Kite claimed our attention, followed by four Black-necked Stilts calling as they flew by close. I don't recall ever having heard them vocalize before. Continuing around the gravel road listening to the songs of Indigo Buntings and Dickcissels, we saw many Little Blue Herons and Great Egrets, a few Cattle Egrets with blood orange bills but white crests, a beautifully marked Grasshopper Sparrow singing next to the road.. We walked out to the confluence overlook to find that the rivers were very high and completely covered the paths across the Missouri from us at the Jones Confluence and were well up the '93 flood pole there. Back in the parking lot we heard a YB Cuckoo calling close and Margaret spotted it through a window in the trees sitting up facing us complete bill, front,
and every tail spot visible. A Brown Thrasher was singing from a dead tree on the way out and some Cedar Waxwings shrilled close to the cars.
Turkey Vultures accompanied us on the way to Riverlands. A N Mockingbird and Eastern Meadowlark were marking their territories in the grasses at HQ. Richard Coles' carload saw Common Mergansers close to the shore near the gas station.
I missed the turnoff to 370 on the way back, so we left the search for the Scissortails and Western Kingbirds for another day in order to get back before 3 and beat the early rushhour traffic. Charlene's notation about those birds were from my excursions earlier in the week.
St Louis County
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