Bird Call, Roll Call

The Bird Paparazzi send the Northern Shovelers to flight

Friday, Anne and I drove up to the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Starting out, the day seemed warm, in the fifties, but it was also very windy, with gust up to 40 MPH. When we started out, our little iPhone Weather Channel App said that the temperature was fifty-three and that it felt like fifty-three. This was not true. Maybe they don’t bother to compute windchill when the temperature is in the fifties, but I think that they should.

Anne compiled the following list of the birds that we saw, a count estimate for each species and sighting details where applicable. I should say, to be more accurate, this is the list of birds that she saw. I missed many of them, while trying to operate my camera. She’s got a little list, a very little list, a list of the sanctuary’s birds that we did not miss.

  • Seagulls – The most common and most active of all the birds that were sighted
  • Pelicans – Two or three
  • Great Blue Herons – Three or four, they looked skinny next to the Canada Geese
  • American Kestral – One, it was hovering over a field, hunting, faced into the wind, but we never could make out any facial marks
  • Northern Shovelers – Several (Six are pictured above)
  • Goldeneye – Several
  • Bald Eagles – Two for sure, we saw them together, possibly more, we saw them all day
  • Trumpeter Swans – Two dozen or more, most of them coming in at sunset, Honk! Honk!
  • Canada Geese – Lots of them
  • Mallards – Several
  • Cormorants – Half a dozen

We did a tour through the Riverlands, never straying too far or too long from the warmth of our electric car/blind. Anne says we saw two eagles, “for sure”, but I think that it was more likely several times that, but she is the Count and she vill count the eagles.

After a while, we decided to do lunch. We ducked across the river to Alton, IL and My Just Desserts. We were going to go to Fast Eddie’s Bon Air, a biker bar, (the leather kind, not the spandex) with Dave, but he had gone MIA the night before. At My Just Desserts, Anne saw two people that she had worked with at the Corps and I saw a woman who I work with. Is Saint Louis really this small a town, or have we lived here too long?

After our late lunch, we returned to the Riverlands, to await the Trumpeter Swans return at sunset. We staked out our spot overlooking one of the inland sloughs. They came at sunset, from out of the north, which happened to be the wind’s direction. They came on fast like a down bound barge, overshot the slough, circled and then landed into the wind. The low light combined with the high-speed action proved too much for me and my camera.

They were still coming in as we left the Riverlands after sunset. It was still fifty-three too, but it didn’t feel like fifty-three to me. The boys were home when we returned and we had our first family dinner together since Christmas.

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