Bird of the day: Common Moorhen, a year bird for most of the group .
Highlights: the Vistas of thousands of shorebirds, waders, and pelicans on
their southern migration
We started at Horseshoe Lake State Park Boat Access off IL 111 and found Bill Rudden there looking at family groups of Common Moorhens and Pied-billed Grebes. It looked like the same bunch refound there last Saturday afternoon. While we were there, no sight or sound of either bittern.
Upriver to the Brussels Ferry and the Calhoun County part of Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge. At the first Swan Lake access that leads to the levee, we saw thousands of shorebirds, mostly Pectoral Sandpipers and peeps too distant to identify even at 60 power. A huge flock of Am White Pelicans, Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons could be seen in the distance, but we didn't find the Brown Pelican that has been hanging with them during any of our stops. Much closer in, we did scope a Solitary SP and a Spotted sharing a small log in the water for a nice comparison. The levee is currently closed to foot traffic due to ongoing construction, so we proceeded to the Calhoun Wetlands access. Richard Coles walked out through the weeds to the mudflat and found a Semi-palm Plover and a Western Sandpiper among the peeps and pects. At one of our stops we were treated to one or two Yellow Warblers, a C Yellowthroat and a Prothonotary Warbler flying back and forth across the water leading to the lake/river. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was heard but not seen.
At the Refuge Headquarters, the conservationist gave us a warm welcome and an update on some of the construction activities and bird species. We drove down to the overlook, but most birds were far away or hidden from view by the heavy vegetation. As far as I know, noone saw or heard the BB Cuckoo that Bill Rudden photographed Tuesday in the woods bordering the Wetlands road. Another Spotted and Solitary were seen close to the parking lot at Volcano Point (old-style moniker for wooded point below the HQ building). The whole day saw only a couple of Red-tailed Hawks and a few scattered Turkey Vultures.
We stopped for Calhoun County peaches on the way back to the Brussels Ferry. By then it was warmer and more humid so we called it a day and started the hour's drive back to Des Peres Park.
St Louis County
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P.S. Any birder that watched the first half of the CSI NY rerun on CBS Wednesday night
will have had a laugh at the Black Vulture co-stars and the canned footage with commentary of various vultures in Africa as though they were all one big happy species.
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