SLAS/FPF Bird Walk at Forest Park, 060615

The first Saturday of June dawned pleasant for the bird walk…and clear.

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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.

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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

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and fledglings

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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.

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Even the bird which most birdwatchers seem to scorn–the Brown-headed Cowbird (why, I’d like to know. Otherbirds 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 whythe 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.

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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!

Here are some of the birds:

Blue Jay:

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Northern Flicker:

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Green Heron:

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Great Crested Flycatcher:

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Brown Thrasher:

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Great Blue Heron:

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Red-tailed Hawk soaring very high above:

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Purple Martin:

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Song Sparrow:

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Acadian Flycatcher or Eastern Phoebe:

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Eastern Kingbird:

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Baby Barn Swallow:

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I had a great breakfast of wild mulberries

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and wild strawberries!

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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

Pickerel weed:

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Waterlily:

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Bee on Clover:

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Fragrant Sumac

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Wild carrot:

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and trees, and some of the denizens of the water bodies, too, such as turtles

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and bullfrogs.

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Here were two mating White butterflies:

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There were abandoned websites, too:

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We did see Mink swimming in the water, but I got their car number plate instead!

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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.

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

here

and my photos on a FaceBook album,

here

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!

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