The early shorebird gets the mud ..... and the later ones get to be bumps on a log. But only this year!


Wow, I have learned a lot from the responses to my observation about the water from an opened sluice covering the mud in Heron Pond, RMBS, St. Charles County! I have been firmly informed that my observation was incorrect. It was rain, and not the open sluice, that caused the higher water levels and the disappearance of the bare mud.


I was delighted to further learn that the mud exposed in September was due to manipulation of the water level in the summer which prevented vegetation growth, resulting in bare mud when the water level was lowered. I was further informed that in future years the water level will be manipulated to keep a continuous area of exposed mud when the shorebirds are migrating. This is wonderful and I applaud what has been done at Heron Pond. I look forward to seeing bare mud for the entire shorebird migration in future years. I think that all birders will be delighted when this happens.


Several people told me that heavy rain caused the bare mud in Heron Pond to be covered by water prior to my visit last Sunday. One person told me that the open sluice was having little or no effect on the water level because water was being released from the other end of Heron Pond. Obviously, I do not understand the complex water dynamics of this area. I have been offered a tour and an explanation of the water management of Heron Pond and the surrounding area. I look forward to this.


One person suggested that Heron Pond was being flooded for the ducks. I have been assured that this is not correct.


My original comment was written on behalf of the migrating shorebirds. Where are they to feed? Photographic evidence (thanks, Bill) shows that they are reduced to landing on logs floating in Ellis Bay. They may get some rest there but they need food if they are to continue their journey south successfully.


I apologize unreservedly to anyone who was offended by my comments. They were an immediate reaction to seeing an opened sluice and no bare mud, as well as disappointment because I had been telling my out-of-town visitor that we finally had some great shorebird habitat near St. Louis.


I truly hope that there will be bare mud and shorebirds at the official opening in a few days time.


I have deliberately not mentioned names of people who contacted me. They know who they are. I thank them all for contacting me. I have written private replies to several of them.


Mick Richardson, Kirkwood, St Louis County


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