We went to Riverlands MBS to look for wrens, BB Cuckoos and Least Bitterns Thursday morning.  We saw two BB Cuckoos at the Least Tern barge overlook. yearbirds for most, and heard several Sedge Wrens. We had binocular looks and brief scope looks of one or two of the wrens between Heron Pond and the gate to the Confluence Road.
The afternoon heated up, so we skipped walking Heron Pond in search of Marsh Wrens and Least Bitterns that had been seen there this week.  Only a few waders were at the ponds where Riverlands Way turns down to the dam spillway, but it bears checking for shorebirds.  There were two adult Red-tailed Hawks in that area.
At least one YB Cuckoo was heard, but we did not see the one flying over our heads that Bill Rudden (from across the road near Heron Pond) caught in flight with his magic digital camera while we were scoping the two Black-billeds.
We were lucky to encounter the Least Tern project team there, just returned from their boat trip to the barges where they had banded ten more chicks old enough for banding.
Besides adding more natural shade spots with reclaimed flotsam to the barge, they plan to add some tethered planks with burlap "saddles" for unfledged hatchlings that fall into the water to climb up on and be fed until they learn to fly.  The Project Leader expects all birds to have fledged by the end of August, when the team will have a meeting to decide on over-winter barge repairs and plans for this exciting success for next year.  By the way, the sound system was removed from the barge on their last July banding, and Thursday they removed the "decoys", so every tern you see this month should be a live bird.
Jackie Chain
St Louis County
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