Ellis Island

Compared to our Saturday adventures, our Sunday was rather tame.  We didn’t bike, because Anne’s knee was still bothering her.  Instead we hiked a bit.  We drove up to the Riverlands and walked the length of Ellis Island.

The Riverlands is a conservation area, run by the Corps of Engineers and is on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River, opposite Alton.  Adjacent to the Riverlands is the Corps’ Mel Price lock and dam.  This lock is the first step on the Mississippi River stairway of locks that leads to Minneapolis.  The Mississippi has been in flood for most of the summer, but now its water level has fallen to below normal.  This lower water level has a big effect on us bird paparazzi.  The newly exposed mud flats push the waterfowl further away form my camera.  The effects of the lowered water level combined with the seasonal closing of the inland sloughs for winter refuge, made bird photography difficult.  I did get the accompanying picture of three duck like creatures, presumably two males and one female, but I could not find them in Sibley’s to name them.  Instead of publishing pictures of egrets or herons, I’ll show you some of the little things that we saw, like two butterflies or the seed pods in this header.

So we hiked Ellis Island, maybe for a couple of miles and then we called it a day for bird paparazzi activities.  The pelicans are almost all gone, but there are still plenty of egrets and herons around.  With the seasonal closing of the inland sloughs, the arrival of the Trumpeter Swans can’t be too far away and then the Bald Eagles will return.  When the eagles return, the Corps will also close Ellis Island as an eagle nesting area.  We saw one of the eagle’s nesting platforms on Ellis Island.  It was overrun with swallows, but they will migrate soon too.  After we finished birding, we tried out the fish tacos at Flaco’s Cocina, a Mexican restaurant at I-170 and Delmar.  The tacos were good and so was the sangria.

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