Clark,
 
In the winter some years there are Western Meadowlarks in the field near that boat ramp. If the ones you found are Westerns, that's a good find here. If they're Easterns, then it's pretty unremarkable. There are ways to tell those two species apart, but it's a little advanced. I still don't have it all the way down.
 
As a general guide of when to expect what birds in St. Louis and how hard or easy they are to find, WGNSS (Webster Groves Nature Study Society) put out a light blue spiral-bound book called "The Birds of St. Louis: Where and When to Find Them." It has seasonal charts and descriptions of where some of the "harder" birds have been seen when they visit the area. It also has site descriptions for some of the better birding locations in the area. I think WGNSS still has some to sell or they can be bought at some stores, including some Wild Birds Unlimited locations.
 
If you have specific target species, you can drop an email to many of us on the M0-Birds list and we'll try to point you in the right direction.
 
Winter is a good time for most duck species, gulls and occassionally scoters, field birds like lapland longspurs, possibly snow buntings, shrikes, short-eared owls (all possible at Riverlands and Jones Confluence Park).
 
Barred and great horned owls at Busch Wildlife Area. Start looking fror woodcocks there in late January. The pine at Lake 6 have produced red-breasted nuthatches in recent years and red crossbills one recent year.
 
Loons at Busch, Horseshoe Lake (in Illinois) and Little Creve Coeur Lake.
 
Long-eared owl, saw-whet owl, short-eared owl, gulls, ducks, loons, etc at Carlyle Lake (Illinois).
 
Check the feeders at Powder Valley for pine siskens.
 
The WGNSS and Audubon trips are nice. There are still tips that I'm learning from trip leaders.

Shawn Clubb
Collinsville, Madison Co., Ill.
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Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2008 20:40:03 -0800
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Thanks for all the great advice, oh and I live near St Louis!
To: [log in to unmask]


Knew I forgot something in the other post.  Sounds like I have a lot to learn, but thats the fun, right?  I live next to Babler Park, which is what got me interested to the degree it is now.  I have two red headed woodpeckers that are wintering in my trees, a flock of bluebirds that are still in the area (surprising) pine siskins and all the usual suspects.  Combining photography with birding gives me the same thrill I had as a boy growing up in Rolla hunting. 
 
Oh, another newbie question.  What is a good post on here?  I see things but never know if its something birders would be interested in and good enough to post.  I came across a nice flock of 50+ meadowlarks in a field by Weldon Springs boat launch 4 days ago, they were there two days in a row.  But as a newbie, although a life bird for me, I figured most wouldnt be interested.  Or is it cool to do a report every time I go out if I see something.
 
either way, thanks for your patience with a new guy.  I look forward to meeting you all, hopefully as we both get a new lifer!
 
Have a great holiday
 
Clark Creighton
WILDWOOD MO
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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
List archives: https://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html