Alice and I spent a week in the greater St. Louis, Missouri area to visit family and friends. Alice had a bridge tournament there, and I had time to do some birding. We stayed an extra day to view the total solar eclipse. Dave Pierce is a St. Louis birding pal of mine, and he suggested the birding sites based on his years of birding there. My highest priority target bird was a Henslow's Sparrow - very rare where I live in Virginia, but a bit easier to find in the St. Louis area. I also wanted to look for two life bird sandpipers that sometimes migrate through the Mississippi Valley in August, as well as getting better photos of Summer Tanagers and Mississippi Kites.
Dave and I headed over to the Columbia Bottoms area at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Part of this area was still closed from late spring and early summer floods. This is an excellent place to search for migrating shore birds, but the water levels were still high where we could go, and there was very little exposed mud flats or shore lines. Dickcissels are fairly rare here in Virginia, but common there, and we saw quite a few - mostly females and immature birds.
Great Blue Heron
Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
We drove over to the nearby Riverlands area, but the water levels were high there as well. We saw a small flock of Eurasian Tree Sparrows, but they wouldn't sit still for photos for me like they did on a previous trip to the St. Louis area.
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Great Blue Heron
Mississippi Kites are seen in many areas around St. Louis during the summer months, and one had been seen all summer, including the day before, near to where one of my sons lives. That afternoon, my son and I looked for it, and actually heard it calling, but a severe summer storm moved in, and we had to stop before it could be located.Click here to continue on the trip to the Shaw Nature Reserve