Saturday, April 10, 2010

crossing the Mississippi

It's early April, and we set out to travel southward and westward in search of some early spring flowers and migrant birds. At Chester, Illinois, we crossed the "big river" into Missouri. A theme that recurred day after day was the unfolding of spring flowers - at least multiple days or even 2 weeks ahead of the flora at home in southeastern Wisconsin. That's no surprise, of course. So this is "the year of two spring seasons" for us.
Another recurring theme: no Tree Swallows. In six days, I never saw a single Tree Swallow in southern Illinois or all of Missouri, although I did note a few Purple Martins in southwest Illinois, a few N. Rough-winged Swallows in the Ozarks, and a few Barn Swallows in a wide variety of locations. What is the answer to the missing Tree Swallows? More on that in the coming few posts, plus other scenes and notes on flora, fauna, landscape, and history. The Mississippi River is a geographic and perhaps a psychological point of focus...

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