A Travellerspoint blog

Wrapping up the St. Louis Trip

Powder Valley Conservation Area

all seasons in one day 88 °F

A few days late, but better late than never! My last morning in St. Louis, I hit Emmenegger Nature Park and nearby Powder Valley Conservation Area to do some herping. I had two targets in mind: Cave Salamander and Western Slimy Salamander which had both been seen in the area, according to iNat.org.

I started off before dawn, flipping rocks in the creek at Powder Valley, hoping for Cave Salamander. Nada. Just a distant RED-SHOULDERED HAWK calling along with the usual dawn chorus, led my CAROLINA WRENS.

I headed west into the hills to find a locked gate into one of my hoped-for preserves, so I headed back to the Powder Valley area, specifically to Emmenegger Nature Park right across the highway. Herping there yielded a nice Fowler’s Toad which was cool to see:

I couldn’t find a way to orient this photo correctly on the blog, but I did find the “Three-toed” subspecies of Eastern Box Turtle unique to this area. Incredible!

Dipping on the Slimy Salamanders at Emmenegger, I headed back over the Powder Valley to try again for both sal species. Several birds greeted me in the parking lot including EASTERN BLUEBIRD:

And a nice female SUMMER TANAGER:

Unfortunately, I completely dipped on new salamander species for the trip. Summer can be a really tough time for finding these slimy, cool-climate-loving species, so I was not surprised. I still consider the trip a success though as I got my lifer Swainson’s Warbler with Theo — a truly GREAT bird and one of only three that are known to be in Missouri this summer. I’ll leave you with one last photo of the St. Louis arch from the highway — of course I have to be a tourist sometimes:

Bird-of-the-day to the Summer Tanager with runner-up to the Eastern Bluebird. No awards for the missing salamanders! For now, I will be a little less active birding-wise as I will be participating in the Chautauqua Institution’s online opera camp spearheaded by my wonderful teacher Marlena Malas. In the meantime though, get out, enjoy nature, wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands! We’re all in this together, and we all have the responsibility to protect one another.

Good birding,
World Life List: 1121 Species

Posted by skwclar 09:56 Archived in USA

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