The group started at Des Peres as usual, where three Chimney Swifts made a quick fly by.  Tower Grove Park was not very exciting.  The best bird was a Louisiana Waterthrush by the ditch, a rare bird in the park.  The Great Horned Owl was in its usual tree across the road from the stables and the Red-tailed Hawk was sitting on its nest.  Otherwise just the expected birds, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Yellow-rumped Warbler and so on.  A stop at Illinois Route 203 failed to reproduce the Black-necked Stilts.  There was a huge flock of Double-crested Cormorants beyond the railroad tracks.  I estimated over 400 birds in the part of the flock we could see. 

A stop at Cahokia Mounds produced 10 Cattle Egrets, a few Great Egrets, a good size flock of Blue-winged Teal with a few Gadwall, and one lingering pair of Green-winged Teal.  The Route 111 side of Horseshoe Lake at first appeared to have nothing more than more Cormorants and White Pelicans, but a closer look produced a breeding plumage Common Loon in the mix and a few distant Caspian Terns perched on the bank near the steel plant.  There was one smaller tern that was probably a Forster's sitting there as well, but it never gave a distinctive view.  There were multiple Warbling Vireos in trees along the lake side.  While we looking Lisa noted the call of the Collared Dove.  We walked up on the bike path and were rewarded with a pair on the other side.  A few people were fortunate enough to see a Black-crowned Night Heron in the small lake area on the northeast side of the lake near the large drain pipes before it vanished into the brush.  On the way out a small group of Bonaparte's Gulls was noted sitting on a log.

David Becher

Saint Louis


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