About 22 of us gathered at Teal Pond, Riverlands, yesterday for the first St. Louis Audubon field trip of the 2018-19 season. It was warm and variably overcast to sunny, and the Mississippi was very full, as it has been for weeks. While these were not the most auspicious conditions, we managed to find enough birds to hold everyone's attention.

The most obvious migrants were the Bank Swallows, which were passing through in the hundreds; I held the estimate to 200 just to make sure it was suitably conservative. In the shorebird department, besides Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper, we had just a few Arctic migrants, all at Teal Pond: a group of Least Sandpipers that allowed everyone some good studies, plus a single Semipalmated Sandpiper and Semipalmated Plover. Two Caspian Terns also provided outstanding scope views, as did a group of Horned Larks that included at least one juvenile. (Juvenile Horned Larks are always a puzzle if you're not used to seeing them; you could imagine them to be almost anything from a weird sparrow to a super-rarity.)

One Sedge Wren tantalized us by singing and diving into the grass, but no good look was to be had; the same was true of a Bell's Vireo singing but hidden at the Audubon Center, next to some Eastern Bluebirds. Down at the end of Riverlands Way, everyone had distant looks at three Snowy Egrets and a Cooper's Hawk that kicked up big numbers of Killdeer and Mourning Doves.

Here is the eBIrd list of birds seen at Riverlands:

We then headed up the river on the Illinois side to try for some shorebird habitat at the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge. We failed to find any, but we did add some species plus nice views of egrets, pelicans, eagles, etc. Here are the short lists we had at Gilbert Lake and then across the Illinois River at Swan Lake:

Note: I have shared these lists with everyone who I know has an eBird account and for whom I have an email address. If I've missed anyone who would like to have the list shared directly with them, please let me know and I'll do that. And thanks to all for coming out and birding with us.

Bill Rowe

St. Louis

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