Date: 11/5/17 5:59 am From: Pat Lueders <000000224f38bbb7-dmarc-request...> Subject: Long Trip report-St Louis Audubon birding trip to Riverlands, Saturday, 11/4
Occasionally, all of the stars align as they did on Saturday when this trip was treated to great birds, comfortable weather, and enjoyable companionship. Around 30 birders throughout the morning, a nice mix of beginners and regular participants generously sharing their knowledge and scopes, covered the Riverlands and Cora Island areas with great success, so this will happily be a longer report.
We met at Teal Pond, finding the continuing group of 8 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks just awaking from their roost in the farthest northwest corner for distant scope views. A few moments later, a flock of Dunlin were feeding on the rocks at our feet, too close for scopes, and many Bonaparte’s Gulls and Hooded Mergansers were busy fishing in the pond. A good start!
Our caravan left, only turning the corner when 5 Trumpeter Swans and hundreds of ducks were sighted swimming in Ellis Bay. The swans annually return to RMBS to spend the winter around the first of November. In this initial group was 12Y, collared in Wisconsin in 2007, and sighted during the Great Rivers Trumpeter Swam Watch every year since 2013. Welcome back! All of the 15 swans sighted during the morning were adults. Three Greater White-fronted and one blue Snow Goose were swimming near the swans.
Fourteen duck species were counted during the day in Ellis Bay and Heron Pond including a newly arrived flock of Red-breasted Mergansers, Black Duck, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, and Ringed-Neck. Many Horned Grebes were also new arrivals.
Two large flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese flew over vocalizing and one flock landed in Heron Pond, joining hundreds of Mallards, Wood Duck, and American Wigeon. As we scoped the pond, soft whistling was heard behind us, and the eight Whistling Ducks circled above us, eventually landing with the geese. What a treat to hear them and see the striking wing pattern as they flew! Four white Snow Geese were loafing later in the morning with 12 Trumpeter Swans off Red School Rd.
A visit to the dam and a walk out to the levee produced close looks at a Common Loon, a life bird for some of our new birders. Unfortunately, after the end of the official trip, five Common Loon were close together near the road in Ellis Bay (picture on eBird report below).
A visit to the Audubon Center produced a mystery bird perched across the bay, possibly a juvenile Bald Eagle with unusual plumage. An Eurasian Collared Dove flew in for good views, and a large number of the wintering White-crowned Sparrows have returned.
We walked the levee at Cora Island/Big Muddy and saw 9 sparrow species, including great looks at many beautiful Fox Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Swamp Sparrows.
The eBird report from Riverlands is below. Please email me if you wish to be shared on this report. Thanks again to all who contributed to making this trip so enjoyable!