The St.Louis Audubon Society Bird Walk, 6 Mar 2010

March 8, 2010

For a long time now, I’ve been meaning to go for this first-Saturday-of-the-month bird walk for novices, that’s conducted by the St.Louis Audubon Society in Forest Park. Alas, either I’ve not been able to go, or on the two occasions that I did make it, the rain ensured that not even the volunteers turned up! Well, this time I knew that the weather would be a mild minus 5 deg C, with bright sunshine, and I could already see at least one bird…

sun and bird fp 060310

so off I went…and had a great time.

I was really struck by the similarity between this and the bird walks conducted by our “bngbirds” birding group of Bangalore…the group of about 30 people comprised very similar elements: mothers wanting to introduce their children to birding and nature, older people who’ve been used to their backyard birds and want to find out more about them…one lady was visiting from North Carolina! Well, I guess I was a migrant in that crowd, being the only non-American. There were, however, a father-and-son duo of Indian origin… Dr Srinivasan , who is a geriatric physician, and his son Sanath.

birdwalk fp 060310

That’s the group….the lady on the extreme right is rushing to retrieve her child, who has gone off behind a bird!

Though it's not yet warm enough to bring out too many bird-species, we did have a good number of sightings; the RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS are out in large flocks, and here's a photograph illustrating how even that red patch on the shoulder can aid in camouflage.... camouflage of red-winged blackbird We saw all the Eurasian Starlings and the House Sparrows, and were told how they are not native species. However, we did see several native species like the Great Blue Heron , and several KILDEER: kildeer 060310 There were also the perky AMERICAN ROBINS that I have captured in this post The raptor sighting was great, too, because one young man, Pen Grady-Pawl, was really keen-eyed, and id'd this bird as a COOPER'S HAWK when it was just a blob in the distant sky! cooper's hawk 060310 fp We also saw the Red-Tailed Hawk soaring over the park, later. We all walked past the statue of General Franz Siegel who served with distinction in the Civil War, and I joked that he must have been a birder, with his binoculars out! franz sigel and binocs 060310 Birds can be so's the male WOOD DUCK in all its glorious technicolour! male wood duck fp -60310 and here are Mr and Mrs Wood Duck, swimming along companionably: wood duck male and female 060310 I had not, on earlier visits, been able to get a video of the SONG SPARROW song sparrow fp 060310 but this time I finally got to hear and record its singing: We also saw several Mallards, some Downy Woodpeckers and of course Woody Woodpecker himself...the Red-headed Woodpecker here's the post about it which entertained us for quite a while!

Here are Dr James Wilson and Chris Ferree, both



Forest Park Forever

James Wilson and Chris Ferree Forest Park 060310

They were very patient, and devoted a lot of time and effort in answering everyone’s questions, and giving out information. My thanks to them (and to a gentleman called Larry, whose last name I didn’t get) …for this outing, and for future help!

In the evening, I went off to meet Mark Glenshaw and the Great Horned Owls…post coming up next!