Forest Park and Randy Korotev, 300415

May 5, 2015

Email to the MObirds egroup:

Being the Annual Summer Migrant, I did fly in like the others….


but I do wish I didn't need a visa, and could come without luggage! I do realize, though, that if I could fly in on my own wings…. instead of my going out to see the birds, a crowd of people would probably come to look at me.

Though a Tour of Duty (with daughter's exams and grandchildren-care) has brought me here, I still did sneak off to attend a presentation on migratory birds by that past master (well, present master too!) Randy Korotev, IMG_7554 read about him here He's been watching and documenting birds in Forest Park from 1979. I do like how approachable the experienced birders of St.Louis are. But prior to that, I walked to the suspension bridge area, where I've sighted so many birds, and of course, I was not disappointed. First off," there was a Robin "feathering its nest" as Mary Poppins would have said: IMG_7324 I saw a Red-tailed Hawk being mobbed by a crowd of Grackles. Then, at the stream, got a Great Egret IMG_7448 and a Great Blue Heron, IMG_7454 with its lovely breeding plumage IMG_7460 both intent on fish or crawfish snacks. Then the Belted Kingfisher and a couple of Northern Flickers came by, IMG_7482 a pretty dull-looking American Goldfinch male following. An Eastern Phoebe couple IMG_7536 IMG_7539 put in an appearance, too, and their typical flycatcher behaviour took me back to my homeland where I have one special patch of wooded road, where, over a period of time, I've sighted no less than 9 types of flycatchers! The leaves make the wooded areas look beautiful, but it also means that sighting the warblers is a challenge. I did recognize the Yellow-rumped Warblers IMG_7532 but apart from the 3-part call of a Tennessee, I could not identify any of the others. I am not even sure whether they were Vireos or other woodland birds! I walked over to the Visitors Center, looking at the Starlings nesting, IMG_7496 The "eee-trilllll!" songs of the Red-winged Blackbirds were everywhere. IMG_7518 I enjoyed the bright blue backs of the Tree Swallows. IMG_7544 Here are Red-eared Sliders quite literally practising one-upmanship! IMG_7516 Feeling like a hungry person after a many-course meal, I too dragged my wings as I took off. IMG_7438 At the Visitors Center IMG_7549 I was privileged, indeed, to meet Randy. The more knowledgeable people are, the more friendly and sharing they sometimes seem to be. Given the fact that it was 5pm on a working day, he got a full house, and Amy Witt IMG_7556 had to set more chairs for the audience. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation, where Randy talked about the various "dates" he's had, over the years, with short-distance, mid-distance and long-distance migrants. IMG_7555 IMG_7557 Whether it was seeing the excellent visuals, finding a detailed printed report and a Forest Park bird checklist both ready to hand (organized by the ever-helpful Amy Witt and Jean Turney, who also set out some welcome coffee and snacks), or the leavening of humor that Randy used, the time just flew past. I had Mark show me an Oriole nest that Randy passed around...the amount of fishing line used in it is amazing! IMG_7560 Though I wanted to see the Great Horned Owls with Mark, grandmotherly guilt made me walk at a fast pace, back to my daughter's home. I've put up the list on eBird here: here and my usual SMS (Shamelessly Mediocre Shots) are on my FB album, click here On Saturday morning I was fortunate enough to go birding (the monthly SLAS/Forest Park Forever bird walk) with Randy and several other very experienced birders ....but that will be my next email, describing the three "lifers" that I got to see! I'm glad I seem to have landed right at the beginning of the Spring Migration in St.Louis. The weather is gorgeous, and so are the birds! Can we have the heat and humidity down for a little longer please? A lovely afternoon in Forest Park, observing and learning... IMG_7443