Arriving at St. Louis & Visiting Cahokia

After a long drive yesterday, we were only about four hours away from St. Louis by nighttime.  We decided to spent a night in Pontiac, Illinois.  Nothing too impressive about the city from our hotel close to the highway.

Agriculture lands next to the hotel.

Holiday Inn.
Back on the road again.

There's the arch!

We first went to the botanical garden to pick up our keys for the apartments that we were assigned to.  Afterwards, since we made good timing, we headed to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site to do some sightseeing.


Cahokia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where it predates even the First Nations' culture that we are mostly familiar with.  It is definitely an interesting place to visit when in St. Louis.

The view from the top.  That building in this photo is the Interpretive Center.

City of St. Louis from afar.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
It was quite windy on the top of the mound, and the insects were battling its way against the wind.  I spotted this butterfly taking shelter on the lee side of the mound.  This is an American Painted Lady (Vanessa virginiensis), a different butterfly from the Painted Lady (V. cardui) that I am more familiar with.

I got to do some birding while walking around the site.  Three kinds of egrets: Little, Great, and Cattle Egrets.  There was also a mystery goose in the photo that I didn't realize until I edited the photos.

House Sparrow.  But there was also a Purple Martin inside the house on the right edge of the picture.

Afterwards, it was time to do some grocery shopping and get ready for the course tomorrow morning.

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