Believing the weather forecast and ignoring the early rain, a group of 9 birders left for Ste. Genevieve County's Hawn State Park early Saturday morning.  In route, we saw a COOPER'S HAWK and WILD TURKEY from the highway and an early GREEN HERON and EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE from the side roads. 
 
We first stopped at the Park Office and heard an EASTERN TOWHEE, many CHIPPING SPARROWS, and got looks at a beautiful PINE WARBLER and a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER.  We chose to hike the Pickle Creek Trail first and to return on the Whispering Pine Trail, both of which were good choices.  After escaping the vocalizations of the numerous Chipping Sparrows, we heard and found our first of many LOUSIANA WATER-THRUSHS.  Along the creek there was a singing water-thrush probably every 1/4 mile.  We also heard YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS, BLACK & WHITE WARBLERS, numerous NORTHERN PARULAS, and CAROLINA WRENS. 
 
Near the end of the Pickle Creek trail, we were treated with a mixed flock of birds including YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER,  CAROLINA CHICKADEE,  TUFTED TITMOUSE,  a few BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS and finally good looks at a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER.   After a tricky crossing of the creek, we joined the Whispering Pine trail which parallels the creek at tree top level.   We were treated with wonderful looks at a  NORTHERN PARULA,  a pair of PILEATED WOODPECKERS, 3 BLACK & WHITE WARBLERS feeding near the ground, 2 male and a female HAIRY WOODPECKERS, & RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS.  While watching the Parula, we thought we heard a Yellow-throated Vireo.  Upon closer inspection, we discovered it was actually a beautiful BLUE-HEADED VIREO; which, according to Robbins & Easterla "Birds of Missouri", would be a very early record and was a life bird for some of our group.  We were lucky to watch it fairly low in the trees eating bugs with more Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. We had a very low fly-over by a BROAD-WINGED HAWK which we thought we had heard vocalize earlier.  We watched the numerous TURKEY VULTURES but did not find a Black Vulture.   Both of these trails provided beautiful views of the diverse natural landscape of Hawn SP.
 
We ate our lunch in the picnic area and Bernie Favarra found a late RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH.  After lunch we drove to Pickle Springs CA and birded there.  Along the drive we heard FIELD SPARROWS and saw TREE SWALLOWS, EASTERN BLUEBIRDS and heard EASTERN MEADOWLARKS.  By the time we arrived at Pickle Springs it was around 90' and very quiet.  We did hear a  BARRED OWL, NO. PARULAS, and saw a male and female PINE WARBLER, with the female collecting nesting material, and more Yellow-rumped Warblers.  
 
After arriving back in St. Louis, some of the birders finished the day at Emmenegger Park in Kirkwood.  We didn't add any new species but did see another BROAD-WINGED HAWK very high in the sky migrating, ending a very enjoyable day of birding!
 
Pat Lueders, Trip Leader, St. Louis Audubon 
 
 
 
 
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