Deep in the heart of downtown St. Louis
is a sprawling 19th century Gardenesque park. (Ask me what 'Gardenesque' means, and I wouldn't be able to tell you but I promise it's a real thing) Donated by Henry Shaw, hardware entrepreneur of the 1850's, Tower Grove Park stretches almost 300 acres in downtown Missouri. Full of winding paths, bushes, pavilions, and a lily pond, this National Historic Landmark is also an important "migrant trap" or resting place for migrating birds each Spring and Fall. As a student in high school, I often went birding with my friend and mentor Brad Warrick in Tower Grove Park when the birding was particularly good, or a good bird showed up- perhaps a Black-throated Blue Warbler. I've met many birders for the first time in Tower Grove, birders whose names I'd seen on MOBIRDS, the state birding Listserve. It was always nice to put a face to the name, and stand beside a complete stranger, our binoculars aimed at the same bird, equally in awe of the warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and tanagers which were in our neighborhood on their way to and from Central and South America. Minutes of silence would pass in observation before we'd introduce ourself to one another, to find we already knew each other from our posts online.
Now, I know most of the birders I meet in the park, and each morning birding there is like a high-school reunion. I enjoyed sharing hugs, stories, and catching up with several old friends as well as making some new ones. Let me introduce several to you:
"Birding is "in the moment". That's just really what it is for me."
"Birding is almost too much fun!"
I enjoyed visiting with birders in Tower Grove Park, some new, others old friends. We marveled at the spectacle of Fall migration, which brought hundreds of birds into the park to enjoy. It was a spectacular sight to share with others.
BIRDS OF TOWER GROVE PARK
The few mornings I birded the park, trees were dripping with warblers. I've never seen it so saturated! At some times, I could see 20 warblers at once. It was a couple of special days to see 50-60 bird species in a morning, right in downtown. Although the light wasn't ideal most mornings, I managed to make some nice images (and many not-nice blurry photos too) and I wanted to share these with you.