Ellis Island, Riverlands

Male House Finch

On Sunday morning, Anne and I went to Ellis Island. No, not the famous NYC Ellis Island, but the one in the Saint Louis area Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary. This Ellis Island is not even an island, it is actually a peninsula. It is situated between the Mississippi River and Elkhorn Slough.

We went to the Riverlands to see a duck decoy exhibit that is showing there. The show opened this last weekend. In addition to the exhibit that will run to the end of the year, there were a number of vendors of decoys, bird call whistles and bird related art that were on display.

I was a little underwhelmed by the exhibit, but I’m not a hunter, so keep that in mind. The decoys on exhibit through the end of the year are primarily older ones. Some of them are antiques. On display only through Sunday were several vendor tables full of newer decoys. They were for sale. In addition to the decoys there were also displays of duck calls. Some of the duck calls were quite pretty.

After viewing the decoys, we drove across the Mississippi to Alton, IL. We were looking for a nice breakfast place, but sadly on a Sunday morning nary one could be found. The one open establishment that we could find was Mac’s. Mac’s is an off-track betting establishment. It is also a sports bar and boasts a patio that allows it to circumvent Illinois’ no indoor smoking laws. Mac’s represents a trifecta of human vices, but it also had a decent Sunday buffet.

After lunch, we returned to the Riverlands and walked Ellis Island. We had the island all to ourselves that is except for the many birds that we saw. In addition to mallards and Canada geese, we saw many Great Blue herons, pelicans and the first two Trumpeter swans of the season. The Riverlands is a great wintering spot for these swans. Here is a link to my movie of two years ago, Trumpet of the Swan. The above finch was the only decent photo of the day.

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