Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Birding Hillman Marsh

I'm dying to add American Bitterns and/or Least Bitterns to my life list... But these are really difficult birds to spot. I've been to St Clair NWA once last year, and for a few minutes this year, and I did not really see anything either time. I contacted someone from that posts in the Essex county area and he liked Hillman Marsh as a place to possibly see them.

So last night, I went to Hillman Marsh to see what I could see in the Marsh area. I was hoping to also go to Point Pelee, but there was just not enough time. That's the funny thing about birding and being from Windsor. If you want to go birding in the Leamington area, St Clair, or Rondeau, you have at least 2 hours of driving time (round trip). And its a huge gamble because sometimes, you do not end up seeing much! I recall going to Point Pelee in March and thinking that I typically see more at Ojibway. Whats the point of going outside of peak migration times?

Upon arriving, I met a wildlife photographer, named Brad who pointed out a perched Kingfisher nearby.

I continued past the Hillman Marsh main entrance to the side road just past HMCA, with the famed bridge over a side marsh. I was hoping to surprise an American Bittern there but not this time.
I then went into the HMCA area and parked and walked a little. As I walked, I kept upsetting a Killdeer that made it very apparent that a human was walking around! I did get a chance to get a close up look at a Least Spotted Sandpiper (Juvies). I think these guys did not realize I was there on the muddy beach, because they came within 8' of me!  (Great link for southbound shorebird identification )

I then did a quick walk on the wooden boardwalk on mainly saw Wood Duck Families scrambling to get away. I did see some flycatchers, (I'll say they were least flycatchers). I did not walk much farther than 25m each way on the dyke. From fhat location though, I did see some Common Moorhens and Black Crowned Night Herons, both mature and immature which hints that they might be breeding at HMCA.

A quick summarized list is:
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Black Crowned Night Heron
Belted Kingfisher
Least Sandpiper
Common Moorhen
Wood Duck
Least Flycatcher

I would appreciate any advice on seeing Least/American Bitterns. Is it too late this summer to even bother seeing them?

Good Birding, Butterflying and Herping!


  1. Good to know of the Common Moorhen family. They are not all that common.
    Your sandpiper is actually a juvenile Spotted Sandpiper!
    Lots of southbound shorebirds are around now. I wish I had time to go look for some!

  2. Nice post, and great photos! Good luck with future endeavors for the bitterns. I agree with Blake - time to check out some sewage lagoons as migration is in full swing and rarities often show up in July. At Tilbury on Monday, I had 3 alt. Short-billed Dowitchers, 6 molting L. yellowlegs, 30+ Least Sandpipers, and 1 first year basic plumaged Semi Sandpiper.



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