Tower Grove Park with Edge Wade, 071014

Edge drove down all the way from Columbia to take me to Tower Grove Park, and it proved to be an enormously rewarding outing.

We started with cloudy and overcast weather, and it took a while for us to see some birds; but suddenly, there was an eruption of Warblers in just two or three trees,not too far from the Cypress Grove…. and other birds, too!

Edge emailed me later, ” Warblers we saw were Yellow-rumped (Myrtle subspecies), Tennessee, American Redstart and Nashville. Also saw several Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-headed Vireo,Carolina Wren, Eastern-Wood-pewee, Carolina Chickadee, and Tufted Titmouse, as well as the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hairy, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers.”

I learnt a lot, too. For example, when Yellow-rumped Warblers arrive, it means that most of the other Warblers have already left. And that there are about 33 species that pass through Missouri during the migration period!

Here’s one

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER:

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A

TUFTED TITMOUSE

pecked for insects among the leaves.

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Here’s a

BLUE-HEADED VIREO

which, Edge said, was quite a special sighting:

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I was able to catch a

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH

on the tree-trunk:

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And just when I thought I’d hit the highlight of the morning…we saw a Red-bellied Woodpecker, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, on the same tree, too! It was Woodpecker Central, and we just needed a Northern Flicker, a Pileated Woodpecker, and a Red-headed Woodpecker to have a complete smorgasbrod of them!

It was quite amazing to me to be able to actually see and compare a Downy and Hairy Woodpecker at the same time, on the same tree.

Here’s the Hairy:

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Here’s the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker:

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This photo definitely shows that it’s a wood pecker!

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Here’s the

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER:

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Look at that checkerboard back!

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An

EASTERN PEEWEE

against the light:

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Edge told me that these

WARBLERS

are very versatile; they exhibit warbler, thrush and flycatcher behaviour (flitting through the trees, turning over leaf-litter on the ground, and hawking insects from the air)…

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A female

NORTHERN CARDINAL

was around, too:

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The

CAROLINA WREN

seems to be the American counterpart of our Ashy Prinia…a loud voice in a small bird.

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Edge’s call brought the bird out in a militant mood; they do not like intruders on their territory.

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We sat for a while at the Bubbler; there were no birds to be seen, but the peace of the place seeped into my soul.

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We saw some Mallards on the water, and it struck me how, for a colourless liquid, water takes on the most amazing hues!

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It reminded me of the water around this Wood Duck in Forest Park:

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Edge shared a lot of knowledge about plants, too; this meant that when we didn’t sight birds, there was still a lot of interesting stuff to see and learn about.

This is the Hedge Apple, also called the

OSAGE ORANGE

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Here’s one fruit on the tree:

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The tree trunk is quite amazing:

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Edge said that she’s usually seen trees being much smaller than these. The fruits are not eaten by any animal or bird, and many lay there on the ground…quite an unusual sight in Nature!

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The fruit had a tart, tangy smell, and seemed very fibrous.

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the

STAGHORN SUMAC.

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is so called for the shape of its infloresence. I was lucky to see a small tree in full bloom. Here’s Edge, showing it to me:

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We saw the plaque for Torrey Berger, who, Edge informed me, invented the term “Birders’ Direct Route”…which could take a birder one to a thousand miles off the mapped route!

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These berries were beautiful.

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Here’s a

BLACK WALNUT:

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The conifer had gall that looked like brains!

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Here’s a pic to show the tiny berry-cones and the gall:

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We don’t know what tree this is, but it’s so beautiful!

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The

SYCAMORE

tree-trunk is a work of abstract art!

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Edge told me this ground cover plant is called Gill O’Ground.

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This tiny flower is Cinque, a kind of Clover:

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I clicked some of the landmarks, such as this Turkish Pavilion (dating from 1872!)

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This is the Bandstand:

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It’s surrounded by the busts of Western classical musicians.

Beethoven:

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Wagner:

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and several others.

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How old is this seat, I wonder?

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Here’s Edge, eating the Uppma that I made, and liking it…she shared some lovely dark chocolate and pickled gherkins with me!

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I loved the punny slogan on her cap!

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Edge dropped me home, and there were these two Grasshoppers, which I had to click:

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A collage of fall leaves is foliage follage!

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I hope you enjoyed my outing as much as I did…thank you, Edge, for a wonderful time!

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