14 May 2021

Before travel

I just returned from a short tour in Arizona, my first serious travel in 14 months.  Before I left for that though, spring migration in Missouri had ramped up completely.

I drove an hour south to see this MOTTLED DUCK, a rarity for Missouri: 

On the same visit, this PECTORAL SANDPIPER posed briefly:

PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS were back in numbers and it was hard to lay off taking pictures of these bright, swamp-dwelling warblers:

Even the RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS were looking sharp:

A very common species around here in spring and summer is SUMMER TANAGER:

This SOLITARY SANDPIPER was still moving through on its way north:

The thrushes were becoming a lot of fun; here's a couple shots of GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH:

... and a SWAINSON'S THRUSH for comparison:

Lastly, the Mississippi River as seen from Riverview Park in Hannibal:

26 April 2021


In about a week I'll be flying out to Arizona where I'll resume guiding with a short nightbirds tour.  It's certainly going to feel odd flying and all that.

Around here, we're still seeing new spring arrivals every day and I'm guessing we're within 2 weeks of the peak of migration.  Here in Hannibal, I had a fun encounter with this NORTHERN PARULA which probably arrived to his territory within the past week:

Still, one of the most vocal, obvious warblers back on territory are the LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES.  I found a different set of birds yesterday including this inquisitive guy:

I can't say I know my snakes very well but iNaturalist has been a great tool.  This sunning dude is a COMMON WATERSNAKE:

I was hiking in a forest near here when I stumbled on this big, showy plant.  I had no idea what it was (which isn't surprising really).  Turns out it's JETBEAD, a non-native exotic in the Rose family:

iNaturalist also helped me identify these as DROOPING TRILLIUMS:

18 April 2021

The special sparrow

One bird-related claim to fame along the banks of the Mississippi River around here are the introduced EURASIAN TREE SPARROWS.  They aren't too hard to find if you know where to look.  These were just down the road a few miles hanging around a bridge that they always prefer:

... and this is a HOUSE SPARROW, a close relative.  See how it's different?

16 April 2021

April showers

A few more species of wildflowers have been popping up in the nearby forests.  First up, CUT-LEAVED TOOTHWORT:

BLUE PHLOX has added some color to the forest as well:

Lots of JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT are around now too:

This one is obviously a trillium of some sort... I think PRAIRIE TRILLIUM:

This one isn't hard to identify at all, the well-known VIRGINIA BLUEBELLS:

09 April 2021

.... annnnd they're back.

Warmer weather has arrived and finally brought with it some new migrants including my first warblers of the year.  Here is a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH that has set up territory a few miles from where I live: 

Here's my first WHITE FAWNLILY of the spring at the same spot:

... and also some PALE CORYDALIS:

31 March 2021


I'm STILL awaiting my first waterthrush of the spring but did stumble into this YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER this morning.  A nice male with the red throat: 

... and just down the road, this EURASIAN TREE SPARROW has been hanging around an overpass:

29 March 2021


There are still no warblers yet at my local patch but I did see my first SPRING AZURES flitting about earlier today: 

26 March 2021

Daily checks

I've been visiting a nearby patch of woods daily, waiting for Louisiana Waterthrushes to arrive.  None yet.

This morning this FOX SPARROW popped up in a bramble:

And a nearby creek was hosting this male HOODED MERGANSER:

24 March 2021

New and not new

EASTERN PHOEBES are back and on territory:        

Meanwhile, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS are still here:

22 March 2021


Even since my previous post, I've gone out and found more new wildflowers for the spring.  It's fun to have something to identify. 

Dutchman's Breeches:

False Rue Anemone:


21 March 2021


I'll admit, I can barely remember how to even make a blog post.

Nothing lengthy here, just a quick cell-phone pic of a Virginia Spring Beauty on the forest floor here in northeast Missouri from a couple days ago.  Spring is finally starting to take shape.