Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Least Bittern at Holiday Beach

I was talking to a birding friend at Ojibway Park recently and he mentioned Least Bitterns at Holiday Beach. So this morning, I headed out, set up my scope on some of the distant islands of cat-tails and sure enough ... Least Bittern! I've gone out for the last two or three mornings at 8:00 am and found them after some thorough scanning of some ideal habitat. A scope and lots of patience is needed to see these incredible species.
According to "Least Bittern is one of the most difficult marsh birds to spot".
Least Bittern is yet another species at risk in Ontario. According to the Royal Ontario Museum: "The main threat to Least Bitterns is draining of wetlands for conversion to farmland and urban development. Bitterns generally require large, quiet marshes and as marshes decrease in size and human recreation increases, the population declines in an area." (ROM).

Recap on threats to Least Bitterns:
  • Destruction of Wetlands.
  • Human interuption on the few remaining wetlands (sea-doos, recreation).
  • Pollution ("Roundup", "Weed and Feed", Fertilizers from Farms and Golf Courses).

These deer flushed a Black crowned night Heron seconds before this shot.
At one point, I noticed hundreds of ducks suddenly start to fly from Big Creek. I looked up and saw this Juv Bald Eagle. Surpisingly, it turned towards me and buzzed the observation tower!

Black crowned Night Herons are pretty common at Holiday Beach
Common Gallinule or Common Moorehen? Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Wood Ducks around as well.

Some butterflies seen included Pipevine Swallowtail, Northern Cresent, and Delaware Skipper among others. I haven't seen any Hairstreaks yet.
Pipevine Swallowtail. Amazing mix of Orange, Blue and Black.

Northern Crescent and Pearl Crescent are often confused. I'm going by flight date. Also note the thicker black border on the outer edge of the upper hind-wing.

Deleware Skipper... Life Skipper.

This is some bonus video from my previous week's posting. It has some video of the Upland Sandpiper, and a Bobolink that was near my car. To my surprise, a female Bobolink perched on the fence as well! You can hear the call of the Bobolink very loudly in this video clip, and if you listen carefully at 0:08 seconds, you can hear Savanah Sparrow, and at 0:35 seconds, you can hear a distant 'cat call' of an Upland Sandpiper.

Good Birding,

ROM, "Least Bittern Species at Risk", Royal Ontario Museum, Oct 2008, WEB, June 25, 2012 , "Least Bittern" , Cornell Lab of Ornithology, nd, WEB, June 26, 2012,

Northern Crescent ID:
Pearl Crescent ID:
Delaware Skipper ID:


  1. At "Least" you got a look at that bittern!

    Pipevines are quite widespread this year. Most I have ever seen.

  2. Congrats on finding the illusive Least Bittern Dwayne! Neat little video with that many birds right in one shot.

  3. Nice job spotting the Least Bittern! I saw one for the first time last month and have seen a few since. They definitely make every effort to be elusive! Great shot of the juvi Bald Eagle; what a beautiful bird!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...