Back on the Bikes

Great Blue Heron Amoung Astoria Pilings

We pretty much took this summer off from cycling, but we’re back on the bikes. With two weeks to go until this year’s Bike MS ride, Anne and I are trying to whip our butts into shape. Based upon today’s modest ride around the park that might be a rather poor choice of words. Still, we’re out there and we’re trying.

In addition to riding, we also lunched at 1764 Public House. Named for the year Saint Louis was founded. Located in the CWE. It is at the corner of Euclid and Pine. This area of town has been undergoing renovation for years now and it has finally begun to come together. Kitty-corner is a new Whole Foods and high-rise condos abound. I doubt that there are any buildings older than ten years left near this intersection. 1764 has street, inside and upstairs seating. We selected a fourth option that was both inside and out. We had a roof over our heads, but all of the garage door sized windows had been hydraulically opened, giving us the inside-outside vibe. Students from both Wash U and SLU are returning to town and with the CWE situated halfway between these two schools, they give the area an international cosmopolitan feel.

After lunch, we rode up Euclid to Left Bank Books and Anne ordered this month’s selection by the Birch Point Book Club, Summer at Firefly Beach, by Jenny Hale. It is billed as the perfect feel good summer romance. Anne won’t be able to participate in this month’s meeting, but she can still live vicariously and maybe extend summer a bit longer by reading it.

Seney

Common Loons – Mother and Chick

Anne and I got away for the day. We drove to Seney National Wildlife Refuge and did some birding. It was grey with overcast and rain did more than threaten, but we were pretty successful. We saw a total of six loons. Enough to form an asylum of loons. We saw enumerable Trumpeter swans. None of them were that normal pasty white in color, but rather a nice mocha brown, having spent all summer at the Seney tannin salon. I saw a pair of Pileated woodpeckers and got pictures, but they are not the best. Anne saw a pair of Belted kingfishers. We also photographed a pair of Pied-billed grebes. The rain held off for a while, but it eventually started. After that we pretty much did our birding from the front seats of our black mobile bird blind, also-known-as the Prius. We circled both the Marsh and Fishing loops. It was getting on by the time we finished both loops so we ducked down to Germfask and the Jolly Inn, for a late lunch. It rained off-and-on all the way back to the cabin, where we had been missed.

Semipalmated Sandpipers

Anne and I saw these birds yesterday on the beach, but neither of us had a good camera then. There was a certain otherness about them that distinguished them from the more normal Spotted sandpipers that we’ve been seeing all summer. We saw their tracks all up and down the beach. We also saw the tracks of another animal, an as yet unidentified mammal. Those tracks also ran the length of the beach, but unlike the sandpiper tracks which went every which way, this animal was moving with a purpose. The tracks looked too big to be those of the mink that we saw earlier this summer, but they also seemed too small to belong to any of the dogs that live on the beach. It’s a mystery. I saw the new sandpipers again today and had my camera in hand and got these pictures. I’ve classified them as Semipalmated sandpipers. There was an adult and four juveniles, although there were more yesterday. They are just passing through. They breed in the Arctic and we’ve seen them before in the Keys, where they winter. They have quite the epic migration. In other bird news, while I was writing this post, a juvenile robin slammed into a sleeping porch window. It left a greasy smudge and a few feathers on the glass. Anne and I ran outside and photographed it as it was sitting still stunned on the ground. It soon tired of us though and hopped away beneath the cabin. So, I guess that it will be alright.