Blooming Bikes and Birds

Mature American Bald Eagle

Mature American Bald Eagle

Today’s high was 68 ˚F, which is not too bad considering that on Thursday morning it was only 7 ˚F. That was the morning of the infamous ‘crinkly butt’ incident, but there was no such marital discord today. We launched early, at least for us and drove up to the Riverlands, which was hosting its final winter-birds open house of the season. You never know what you will see when you go there. Today’s haul was one of the better ones, here is our unofficial tally:

  • Greater White Fronted goose – 100s
  • Canada goose – ~100
  • American pelican – ~25
  • Trumpeter swan – ~20
  • American Bald eagle – 6

There were numerous other species sighted, both waterfowl and little birds. This is the first time that I’ve seen so many White Fronted geese at the Riverlands. In fact, I’ve only seen one other one there and that was five years ago. Here is a link to a picture that I took then. It was sitting rather forlornly in the Missouri side parking lot of the Mel Price lock and dam. The swans were greatly diminished since our last visit to the Riverlands, they may have been out foraging or already migrated, but on the other hand the pelicans have begun to arrive again, a sure harbinger of spring. As we were headed home, Anne remarked, “When I was first moving to Saint Louis, I never expected that I would see lots of Bald eagles here.”

We weren’t done yet though, not by half. You don’t squander weather like this in February. After a quick-lunch, we launched again, but this time on our bikes. We headed towards Forest Park, but it was mobbed. Everybody who owned a bicycle in Saint Louis was there riding it and if they didn’t own a bike, they were still there. After slogging our way through the park, we decided to leave it behind. We headed over to Tower Grove Park, which mysteriously wasn’t near  as crowded. After a turn around that park, we stopped off at the botanical gardens, which is holding its annual orchid show, another great photo-op. I was concerned that the stink of two sweaty cyclist would ruin the scent of these beautiful flowers and that we would be asked to leave. My fear was groundless though. Maybe we didn’t work as hard as we thought that we had. It has been a long time since we were on the bicycles.

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