deponti (deponti) wrote,
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"Field Notes": Guided Walk in Forest Park, 201013

On Sunday, the 20th of Oct, I went on

a walking tour of the nature reserve areas of Forest Park

with

Peter Van Linn

of Forest Park. Here he is, with Bob Duffy of the St.Louis Beacon:

DSC00509


Here we are, heading out on the path:

DSC00529



We walked through the prairie grasses:

DSC00521


Peter talked to us about native and exotic plants and trees, the re-routing of the Des Peres river underground, the inter-connection of the various man-made water bodies in the park. I learnt something I did not know before...that all the water bodies in the Park contain tap water...the Des Peres river flows underground right through the park, and does not surface at all!

However, converting the habitat was one of the efforts undertaken by Forest Park Forever. Through controlled burns such as the one

the controlled burn of 2011 referred to here in The Beacon

he said that they were trying to convert this particular area into a prairie/savannah, but thanks to earlier-planted trees, and resurgence of plants, pines such as this beautiful one

DSC00563

were very common.



He told us how bare, or even dead, trees, support wildlife. This picture of a leafless tree with many

AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES

on it

DSC00571

and this, of a

RED-HEADED WOODPECKER

pecking at the trunk of a tree, illustrated his point:

DSC00551


Here's some dead wood in a picture I like:

DSC00555


Does this look like a bird walk? Because of the presence of Jocelyn Clogston (who took me to Rockwoods Reservation the first time) and her friend, Tom Bailey, who pointed out quite a lot of birds, it did, indeed, become one, too!

We saw this

TUFTED TITMOUSE

eating its breakfast:

DSC00564

Tom pointed out this beautiful

RED-SHOULDERED HAWK

waiting patiently for prey:

DSC00557

DSC00550

This

EASTERN PHOEBE

delighted us with another one, swooping along, catching insects:

DSC00545

The usual

RED-TAILED HAWK

did a fly-past for us:

DSC00542

I got an

AMERICAN GOLDFINCH,

duller at this time of year, having lost the bright yellow of summer..

DSC00536

A

NORTHERN FLICKER

sat high on a tree:

DSC00532

Even the Robins and the Starlings are looking different now:

DSC00531


Tom showed me several Yellow-rumped Warblers, but I couldn't photograph them.


Here you can see the various kinds of land: prairie, shading into savannah,shading into woodland (it's not thick enough to call a forest)

DSC00580




I was still riveted by sights such as these:

this (thanks to help from Fran Fulton)

VARIEGATED FRITILLARY:

DSC00511

at the outset of the walk;


this

DELAWARE SKIPPER

on a

CHICORY flower:

DSC00582

and this

GRASSHOPPER:

DSC00576

Tom told me that this

WOOLLY BEAR (Isabella Tiger Moth caterpillar)

DSC00520

was supposed to presage the severity of the winter to come, by the width of its brown band!

These aphids on the milkweed seed-pods

I walked back, enjoying the fall colors:

DSC00585


DSC00539

I peeped in on the

Orphan Car Show

(Apparently,Packard, Hudson, and Studebaker automobiles are considered glass and steel "orphans" because they are no longer in production.)

DSC00588



Let me close with the Halloween display at the Visitors' Center:

DSC00587

and the

NEW ENGLAND ASTERS

that bloom in the fall:

DSC00574

It was a very enjoyable morning.
Tags: birding, butterflies, conservation, ecology, forest, grasshopper, grassland, insects, newspapers, photography, st louis, trees, walk, weekend
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