The first Saturday of June dawned pleasant...and clear, so even though
the ground was still soggy from the rains, I walked to Forest Park. I
looked up at the historic birdwatcher of St.Louis. The statue of Franz
Siegel carries a pair of binoculars, and you can see him straining to
id that raptor in the distance! I meandered over to the meeting point
at 8.15am, for a walk around the Steinberg Prairie area.

About 15 of us were guided by Mark Glenshaw, Amy Witt of Forest Park
Forever, and Karen Meyer of SLAS. But several in the group were
excellent at spotting the birds, making it much easier for the "Where
is it?" birders like me.

We started off watching several Eastern Bluebirds, parents and
fledglings, executing their breakfast dance between grass and trees.
Truly, they are bluebirds of happiness!

Several other Great birds (a Great Blue Heron, a Great Egret, a Great
Crested Flycatcher) , a possible Acadian Flycatcher, a possible
Red-tailed Hawk (well, a Buteo, definitely!) high up in the sky, were
points of delight and much exclamation. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird,
with its feathers gleaming in the sunlight,  perched several times on
the open twig of a dead tree, Even the bird which most birdwatchers
seem to scorn--the Brown-headed Cowbird (why, I'd like to know. Other
birds like cuckoos are also brood parasites, so why does this bird
always meet with a "hmmph" reaction?) was marked and observed. A Brown
Thrasher made me come home and google for more information about why
the bird is so called.

Overhead, Chimney Swifts chittered as they flew, hawking for insects.
It was nice to see several Purple Martins near the Steinberg Skating
Rink, utilizing the "apartment complex"and gourds  built by humans
that they now depend on entirely for housing. Traveling to the US each
year is making my bank balance critically endangered...I wish someone
would build me a free home in Forest Park!

Though billed as a bird walk, this was truly a nature ramble.Thanks to
the guidance of Mark and Amy, we were able to observe a lot of native
plants and trees, and some of the denizens of the water bodies, too,
such as turtles and bullfrogs. We walked through cool shade and
(increasingly) warm sunshine, learning about how the native plants and
grasses are  being brought back painstakingly by Forest Park Forever,
and the various stages and challenges of  the process. It was also a
walk across the Victorian Bridge, redolent of times past.

My eBird list (Karen may need to add or amend it) is at

and my photos on a FaceBook album at

Thank you to the several people who did a great job of spotting
birds...many eyes, especially experienced ones, make light work of
birding for me!

Cheers, Deepa.

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