I try to fill in the blank spots in the ebird bar charts for Conservation Areas near me. Last night I noticed that Red Rock Landing is really lacking in records for summer and early fall, so that’s where I headed this morning. I got there in time to watch the sun rise over the Mississippi while a Great Horned Owl hooted in the distance. As the light grew, a Bald Eagle flew by. Next, American Crows started to rise up out of the trees on the Illinois side and fly across to Missouri. First a dozen, then larger groups, continuing to stream westward — a hundred in all.
By the time that was done, it was light enough to go look for birds in the woods. I was going to walk a trail, but there was so much going on at the parking area that I never managed to leave.
I had been hearing Golden-Crowned Kinglets in the trees near the river, and finally got to see one in a big redbud near my car. I sat on a rock and watched the action in the treetops — American Goldfinches, a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers, several White-Breasted Nuthatches, some Yellow-Rumped Warblers, a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, and my best bird of the day, a Blue-Headed Vireo.
The tall forbs and grasses around the wetland yielded a lot of sparrows – mostly Song, but this one lonely immature White-Crowned Sparrow in with the rest.
I got back home in time to make brunch for me and Robin, and checking the ebird records, found that I’d added three species to the Red Rock Landing list — Blue-Headed Vireo, Great Horned Owl, and Ruby-Crowned Kinglet.