A gorgeous day yesterday in Forest Park yielded some less typical duck species.  Among the fish hatchery ponds is one long pond not used as a hatchery or outdoor ed pond.  At the end of this pond close to Union Avenue were a female Green-winged Teal and a female Gadwall mixed in with Mallards and Wood Ducks.  The size difference between the Green-winged Teal and the other, larger ducks was quite striking. 

A high, soaring Buteo over the fish hatchery ponds was not positively IDed but I saw glimpses that suggested a Red-shouldered Hawk.  The last few weeks have consistently yielded Pie-billed Grebes and yesterday was no exception with a pair near Lafayette Bridge and a female in Cypress Lake. Cypress Lake also had a Belted Kingfisher whose splashing dive resulted in a fish feast.  The kingfisher landed and ate his fish on a sign that reads, "No Fishing."  The big dead tree east of the Franklin Bridge had a Great Blue Heron as did one of the large dead trees in the Deer Lake Natural Area. I saw seven Red-eared Sliders in three different spots, perhaps one of last turtle sightings for a while with the approaching cold weather. 

The day concluded with me leading the monthly, public owl prowl.  Turn out was huge with over twenty people.  By watching in shifts and then as a group from a distance, everyone was able to see the pair of Great Horned Owls, Charles and Sarah, without disturbing them.  Highlights included Charles ejecting a pellet and Sarah checking out a potential albeit problematic nest site.  She used this nest site initially in the 2011 breeding season but changed nest sites after three days.  The nest site is in a hollow in a Cottonwood but it is quite low to the ground and mere feet away from the bike path.  Hopefully they will not use this site.  

All in all, an amazing Sunday in Forest Park!

Mark H.X. Glenshaw
City of St. Louis
Forest Park Owls
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