The Saturday WGNSS group did its regular trip today. Our best bird was a Marbled Godwit at Columbia Bottoms along the gravel road at Pool 3.
We started in the Gaddy Garden area of Tower Grove Park. We had a number of new species. The day started with Chimeny Swifts overhead which was new for most. Our observations included one or two Orange-crowned Warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a Parula, and many Hermit Thrushs. A Winter Wren came out on the trail for easy observation. There was an Orchard Oriole in the trees in the center of the Gaddy Garden with a flock of White-throated Sparrows and a couple of Eastern Towhees. The male Cooper's Hawk visited the nest, but there did not seem to be anyone home. We are uncertain if the nest has failed or not. We had two Hairy Woodpeckers one near the ditch and the other about half way from their to the Gaddy Garden. There were plenty of Sapsuckers, Brown Creepers, and Kinglets including at least one Golden-crowned. We saw all three Great-Horned Owls the young bird and both adults. In addition, Jean Cook spotted a fourth bird at the Cypress Circle. We do not know if it is part of a pair or a singleton. There were several Pine Warblers at the Cypress Circle among the more common species. We also had a Palm Warbler bathing with some Juncos at the north end of the ditch.
We then went across the river. In the parking lot field off Rt. 203 some wading was rewarded with a Sora that was seen by most of the group as it flew. There were plenty of Snipe in the marsh as well. In the trees at the end of the field was an Eastern Kingbird. There were not many birds at Indian Lake, just a few ducks, one Little Blue Heron, but the pond at Cahokia Mounds produced one each of Snowy Egret, Great, Egret, Cattle Egret, and Little Blue Heron all in high breeding plumage.
Finding little else around Horseshoe Lake we went to Columbia Bottoms. After nearly an hour of searching we gave up on the Yellow-headed Blackbird. I as not able to find it last evening either. It may have moved on. At Pool 3, Archie and Loy spotted a beautiful Marbled Godwit quite close to the road. There were also Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, a couple of Least Sandpipers and lots of Solitary Sandpipers. The group then called it a day and I went up to Riverlands.
At Pintail Marsh the American Bittern was sitting in the open marsh at the side of the road. I watched out of the car window as it caught and ate a crayfish. At Lincoln Shields there were a few Bonaparte's Gulls in breeding plumage mixed with the Ring-bills. At the parking lot at Alton Lake usually called Stonehenge there were large numbers of mixed Yellowlegs. There were a few Long-billed Dowitchers and a couple of Wilson's Phalaropes. I met the Malones and Dave Rogles there and they also found a Semipalmated Plover. They told me that some additional birds had come in at Columbia Bottoms, so I went back and added two Black-necked Stilts and some Baird's Sandpipers to my list. A very successful day.
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Spring Meeting: May 1-3, 2009 in Columbia, MO.