Friday, July 9, 2010

Least Bittern at St Clair NWA

Wow, I finally got a chance to see a Least Bittern! It only took 14 months of birding to see this guy! I'm pretty excited, because Cornell's Site (all about declares "Least Bittern is one of the most difficult North American marsh birds to spot". Whats great about today's sighting is that I spotted it within 10 minutes of arriving at St Clair NWA. I spent another hour there, but did not see too much else, as is expected when birding in July. 14 months of birding and I get 5 seconds of viewing time of this guy. Incredible!

I'm being optimistic here, but I think the photo below may be a Yellow Headed Blackbird, possibly a female. This photo hints that it could be a female.  (post script: or... it could be a red-winged blackbird!)

I also think I spotted a Lincoln's sparrow... it might also be a Swamp Sparrow, it would make more sense actually...

I also saw:
Black Terns
Great Blue Herons
Mallard Ducks
Common Yellowthroat
Least Bittern (lifer, #178)
Yellow Headed Blackbird? ( lifer #179)

I was also getting eaten alive by bugs, so I did not stay long. It was really bad out there. Worse than Skunks Misery!

I was about to drop by PPNP, but decided to bird Tremblay Beach and Ruscom Shores. I figured, Lake St Clair has been good to me so far, why not check out the ERCA hotspots along Lake St Clair as I drove home? Both made for great walks, but not nothing too special showed up.

Tremblay Beach: Awesome spot... but will someone please post a sign of its whereabouts?   Tremblay Beach produced a gorgeous Red-spotted Purple Butterfly in the parking lot. I don't get this butterfly. Wild Flowers blooming everywhere... he prefers to lick gravel! With the power of Photoshop, I put two successive photos in one. I also saw a Spotted Sandpiper, Killdeer and Mallard Ducks. Its my first time there. 

Ruscom Shores was a really nice walk as well. I did not see much, at one point, I swear I was hearing a Brown Thrasher make its round of 30 sounds, in pairs. Later, I was pishing and really seemed to anger a Grey Catbird (I think he was pished off). They also cut down the 14' tall Phragmites there. I was hoping I would see something interesting (with respect to Avifauna) , particularly because of yesterdays storm, but no such luck. One cool thing I witnessed was a flycatcher chasing a moth, and the flycatcher was almost hovering in air, darting its neck to get the moth, but I think the moth escaped!

Seeing the Least Bittern today was... a great birding moment for me. I've really wanted to see it, and today, as I stood there and watched a small heron like bird take off from a patch of reeds, and my camera coming in and out of focus on its beautiful plumage... it was delightful! I would say its my third favorite lifer this year, after The Pileated and Red Headed Woodpeckers.

Good Birding!


  1. Congrats!!
    A Lincoln's Sparrow would not be around here this time of year, and not in that kind of habitat. Looks like a young Song Sparrow?

  2. Congrats on seeing a bittern. Too bad it was such a short time. I still haven't seen a least.



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