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SAT MAY 23

I birded in and around Tower Grove Park Gaddy Garden from 06:00 to 10:30.  I
had 11 warblers, including BLACKBURNIAN, OVENBIRD, WILSON'S and CANADA.

The highlight was the extended study of MOURNING WARBLER song.  I first
found the bird by its song, tracked and got a fleeting look.  After awhile
I'd hear the song again, but from a different part of the Garden, relocate
the bird and see it again, fleetingly.  The bird changed positions
systematically for almost my entire time there and it seemed to be making a
continuous circuit of the Garden.

1 OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER briefly on the "olive-sided flycatcher" tree.
Also, ACADIAN and LEAST FLYCATCHER.

At one point I caught a glimpse of a warbler inside a dense plant less than
two feet off the ground.  It dived out of that, down and into thicker
vegetation and out of sight.  I wasn't sure what I had seen and walked away
leaving the bird as "maybe a Nashville?"  But where it was and how it was
behaving don't fit with that scenario and I didn't put 2 + 2 together.  I
think it's possible I actually saw the female Connecticut Rad W. found and
reported two hours after I left.

SUN MAY 24

I returned to the Garden at 08:15.  Less warbler variety but there was
BLACKPOLL plus YELLOW-BELLIED and "TRAILL'S" FLYCATCHER and multiple singing
SWAINSON'S THRUSH.  I heard just a measure or two of what sounded like
BLUE-HEADED VIREO song; similar to Red-eyed Vireo, but higher-pitched and
squeakier, like a Blue Jay was holding a Red-eyed by the throat.  Looked but
did not find the bird and never heard it again.  Only 1 WHITE-THROATED
SPARROW left in the Garden (for me)!

Because bad history repeats itself, shortly after 09:30 I caught a glimpse
of a Connecticut candidate on the north side of the path, east of the
bubbler, diving out of a thick shrub.  Of course.  My first impression was
that it had a pale hood, but with clearly a complete white eye ring.  Within
a couple of minutes I heard the first of the CONNECTICUT song, but from the
south side of the trail.  The bird was singing softly.  I moved down the
little footpath, just east of the bubbler, to where the vegetation opens up.
There was the male CONNECTICUT showing himself with a vivid blue-gray hood
and sharply contrasting eye ring.  He dived back into the thicket.  For
about the next hour he repeated this process three or four times:  coming
out into better light, then diving back in.

But because sometimes good history repeats itself I remembered that exactly
one year ago, on May 24, 2014, I found a singing male CONNECTICUT just
outside the Gaddy Garden; this was the bird that showed itself so well, out
in the open, and many got to see.  Al Smith produced a major motion picture.

At Orton Road's end, Riverlands MBS, there were one each of BALTIMORE
ORIOLE, BELL'S VIREO, YELLOW WARBLER, BLUE GROSBEAK and WILLOW FLYCATCHER,
all singing.  2 NORTHERN BOBWHITE were standing on Riverlands Way near the
Audubon Center, like they were waiting for the bus.

I saw many, but not all, of the shorebird species reported Saturday at
Stonehenge, except there was 1 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER Sunday, just begun
molting into alternate plumage, plus PECTORAL SANDPIPER.  Mixed in were
BLUE-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELER and what appeared to be a CAYUGA DUCK
with the MALLARD.  6 SPOTTED SANDPIPER on the rocky shoreline of Ellis Bay.

2 LEAST TERN, 1 either side of the hwy 67 causeway.  A 2nd BELL'S VIREO
singing next to the Belchik overpass (the newish road across from Alton
Barge Terminal).

I also heard FISH CROW, so that's for sure, but I honestly can't say if any
of the crows I saw, but did not hear, were American.

Safe holiday, all,

Mike Thelen
Univ City, StL Cnty, MO
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