Hi MOBirders:

Thanks to Mssrs Bailey and Garcia for leading SLAS Sat morning.  What a
congenial group and a great half-day trip.  14 warblers for me and some nice
studies of empids along Blue Grosbeak Trail.  After lunch (the new Trail
Smokehouse bbq and wine garden in Defiance; no financial or personal
interest for me other than I recommend it for a pleasant mid-day stop) I
headed to Darst Bottom Rd.  A pair of SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER around and
then in "the STFL tree."  By the length of the tail this looks like a male:

About 3/4 of the way from there to "the ranch" there was a large puddle
hosting 8 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER in breeding plumage.  Here's one:

I had to move out of the way for a massive farm tractor rig and after it
passed the plovers had vanished.

Beyond "the ranch" I spotted a likely candidate for my second target
silhouetted on a utility line ahead.  And it was indeed 1 LARK SPARROW.
Back on the connector of DBR which goes into downtown Defiance there were 3
more Lark Sparrow playing on the road.  So, 1 + 3 = 4 Lark Sparrow along
DBR.  But, shoot, nobody was singing.  Here's an interesting flight photo of
1 of the 3:

I passed a road-killed armadillo on the shoulder of I-270, near DePaul
Hospital, in north StL Cnty.

Late in the afternoon in Heron Pond at RMBS there was a flock of 28
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER.  Ran out of time to look through the area
thoroughly.  I had only a moment's look at a critter which popped out of the
water then went right back in; it struck me as pretty long overall with a
bushy tail.  My first impression was Northern River Otter but it might have
been just a Common Muskrat, so I'm not sure.  Andy Reago might have
photographed the same animal.

Mike Thelen
Univ City, StL Cnty, MO
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