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St. Louis Audubon Society field trip report for Sat Oct 19, 2013.

We started at Pere Marquette State Park Saturday morning under a gray
overcast.  I had logged 43F on the drive up the Great River Road earlier.
But the clouds broke up steadily throughout the morning eventually giving us
a really nice fall day to be out.  Early in the day Gilbert Lake Division,
north end, Stump Lake, south end, and PMSP bluff trail were fairly quiet and
we wondered whether Friday night's cold front, with accompanying winds and
rain, had actually adversely influenced the birding, instead of helping.
Birding improved along Dabbs Road and the Stump Lake levee trail with a nice
mix of the expected woodland birds, plus migrant sparrows and 1 or 2 COMMON
YELLOWTHROAT, first spotted by Mike Grant.  20 GREAT EGRET were still
working the Illinois River and Stump Lake, plus an aggregate of 300 soaring
or gliding AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN.  A tight flock of 60 NORTHERN PINTAIL
shot upriver.

There were 1,000 ducks on lower Swan Lake in Calhoun County; however, the
surface area of the lake area was shrunken and the birds were too distant
from any vantage point we had access to for any decent study.  250 AMERICAN
COOT were close enough for good looks from the southeast corner of Swan
Lake.  The prairie trail that meanders below Two Rivers HQ was full of
sparrows, including 40 SONG, 30 SWAMP and 1 probable LE CONTE'S or NELSON'S:
an orangey sparrow with a short tail which popped up, zoomed away and dived
back into the veg.  Bernie spotted 1 very late DICKCISSEL.

Heading back down the Mississippi River we finished the day at Riverlands
and relocated the AMERICAN AVOCET in Teal Pond.  TREE SWALLOWs were thick
over Ellis Bay; I estimated 1,500.  Adding 300 seen elsewhere previously
during the day made a grand total of 1,800.  There were another 200 coot,
plus a nice mix of ducks scattered throughout the area, including 2 AMERICAN
WIGEON, 8 REDHEAD, 2 RING-NECKED DUCK and 1 LESSER SCAUP.  No big grebe,
scoter or any terns for us.

By my count, we tallied a total of 68 species for the day.  And I'd like to
thank the 12 participants for their enthusiasm and good spotting, plus
special thanks to the couple who pledged their new SLAS membership.

A partial summary follows:

13 waterfowl species.

6 hawks:
-- Osprey, 1, soaring in the cold, gray light over PMSP bluffs at the start
of the day.
-- Bald Eagle, 35
-- Northern Harrier, 1 male, also over PMSP bluff.
-- Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1, spotted by Brian over the Two Rivers prairie.
-- Red-tailed Hawk, 10
-- American Kestrel, 1

11 sparrow species, including the 1 probable.

Mike Thelen
Univ City, StL Cnty, MO
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