For those interested

My wife and I SAW the Yellow Rail at Little Creve Coeur yesterday as I
reported in my post - we did not HEAR it.  We saw it around 2:30PM.
Even if I thought I could ID a Yellow Rail by sound, I wouldn't do it by
sound alone.  I feel I don't have the expertise for that.  The only rail
I feel I know well enough to ID by sound alone is the Sora.

We were scoping the many Sora feeding along the edge of the reeds that
lined small mudflats close to the part of the path that seems to cut
right through the biggest part of the lake, when my wife spotted a
'different' rail.  She whispered to me that it was a Yellow Rail.  I
studied it through the spotting scope and couldn't believe our luck.
Unfortunately, this little Yellow Rail was much more shy than the Soras,
who seemed to stay out feeding without being bothered by us.  I am
assuming the Yellow Rail became aware of our presence when she/he
suddenly did a short flight up and back into the tall reeds after only a
few short minutes of our study.  We were then able to see the white
patch on the wings mentioned in the guide books.  Being like many
birders who see a bird for the first time, I wanted to continue to
wonder at this little miracle, so we walked around the trails for a few
hours studying mostly butterflies (there wasn't much bird activity) and
came back to the marshy lake area, hoping the Yellow Rail had come back
out.  Many Soras were still out feeding and calling, but we didn't
refind the Yellow Rail.

We knew how lucky we were to see the Yellow Rail in the first place,
this being a very secretive bird, so we were grateful.  We knew we were
being greedy to expect more.  After all, it wasn't like we only had a
few seconds.  We had a few minutes.  This was an incredibly unexpected
lifer for us.  It just so happened we had studied all the markings of
each of the rails extensively before walking into Little Creve Coeur
that day.  We were hoping to catch a glimpse of the Virginia Rail that
had been seen there.  I never dreamt we'd see a Yellow Rail, even though
we'd studied for the possibility.  We'd always heard they were seen on
special field trips by people wading through the marshes and flushing
them who then saw Yellow Rails for a few moments and knew they were
Yellow Rails only by the white patch on the wings.  Or they were heard
by folks.  But we were simply scoping from the path.  Such fortune!

For those interested, we parked in the parking lot of the Soccer Fields
and walked across the soccer fields to get to the area.  But be AWARE.
The Soccer Fields are private property.   I didn't know that.   The
first time I walked across these fields was one other time a few days
prior to this, when many soccer games were going on and no one seemed to
notice me. Yesterday, on Easter, there were no games going on and some
workers putting down a new soccer field tried to stop us, informing me
it was private property.  A manager came by to check on what was
happening and decided that not only was it fine for us to cross the
fields, but road us across the fields in his golf cart.

Andy Reago
St. Louis MO
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On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 8:33 PM, Andrew Reago wrote:

Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary - highlights:

American Bittern (Pintail Marsh area)
Sora (First channel on the right heading east as you pass the gate on
Riverlands Way)

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area - highlights:

Little Blue Heron (FOS for me)
Long-billed Dowitchers- 3  (mixed in with the Greater and Lesser
Yellowlegs, Wilson's Snipe, Red-breasted Mergansers, Pectoral
Sandpipers, etc. in ponds off the gravel road)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Little Creve Coeur - highlights:

Sora - saw 9, heard at least 5 others coming from behind us (with at
least two Swamp Sparrows for every Sora)
Yellow Rail!
Solitary Sandpipers - 2
Fish Crows - 2

Andy Reago
St. Louis MO
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ASM Spring Meeting: April 27, 2012 in Joplin, MO
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