Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Horseshoe Lake State Park

The view of St. Louis from Horseshoe Lake State Park
My first stop while heading west from Indianapolis was at Horseshoe Lake State Park to look for Eurasian Tree Sparrows.  This species was introduced, just like the House Sparrow, but it has not spread to every corner of the country as the House Sparrow has.  They are mostly found in Illinois and Missouri, mainly around the St. Louis area.  I have driven through the area many times and never looked for this species, so I decided it was time.  I chose Horseshoe Lake State Park as the location to visit due to the diversity of waterfowl that visit the lake during migration.

Hooded Merganser pair
Before leaving for the park, I couldn't find much information about where to, specifically, find the sparrows, so my plan was to just drive around, looking and listening for Eurasian Tree or House Sparrows hoping that they would be hanging out together.  I spent about an hour only finding House Sparrows and searching through the abundant waterfowl.  I needed to quit wasting time, as I still had a long drive ahead of me, so I just started concentrating on the sparrows.  After a little while I figured out the problem, the sparrows were on the other side of the road, across from the park. At least they were still I could see them from the park but I couldn't get any photos.

Pilfink / Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
This is not my photo; to see the photographer's photostream
on flickr go to:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/77370075@N07/8528962496/
To follow along on my species list go to:  http://blog.nuttybirder.com/p/400-goal-list.html#.UUhsAxxwqz4

-Eric

1 comment:

Emily Crow said...

Congrats on your Eurasian tree sparrow. I live in central Illinois, and they are one of our regional specialties. They seem to have traveled up the Illinois River Valley and, for some reason, settled down in McLean count, IL. They might not be natives, but they sure are cute!