Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Whitesbog 4/22--American Bittern

Eye over Whitesbog: Tethered blimp at Lakehurst
It was a dull day on the dikes of Whitesbog this morning. Birds were around but for the first hour or so it all seemed to be ear-birding. Nothing was showing itself, including the ubiquitous Common Yellowthroats. I lost count of how many I was hearing, but it wasn't until I was all the way back at the Upper Reservoir that one finally popped into view. Once one did, I decided to see if I could capture the moment. I was surprised how well the picture came out, considering the distance, the camera, and most of all, the photographer.

I was walking on the next cross-dike down from the reservoir, thinking about the House Wren (wrens, I couldn't decide) I'd just seen in a spot I know they like, when I flushed a heron from the reeds to my left. My first instinct was that it was Green Heron, a bit early, but within a second I doubted that because it was very brown and appeared big. Also, when the bird squawked, it didn't sound green. It flew to the left and landed on a hummock and when it stretched its necked out straight with bill pointed to the sky it confirmed that it was an American Bittern. I know that bitterns have been seen in this area, but I never expected to find one of these elusive birds. It then took off for the shore across from me. I could see where it landed and started walking there, but halfway to my goal the bird rose up again and flew to the southern end of the bog, landing in some reeds where it donned the cloak of invisibility. Like an overmatched hitter, I never took the bat (camera) off my shoulder.

As I only need one good bird a day, I was satisfied with the results of my four mile trek.
    34 species
Canada Goose   2
American Black Duck   5
Mallard   10
American Bittern   1
Turkey Vulture   1
Mourning Dove   2
Red-bellied Woodpecker   2
Hairy Woodpecker   1
Northern Flicker   3
Eastern Phoebe   1
Blue Jay   4
Fish Crow   2
Tree Swallow   14
Carolina Chickadee   2
Tufted Titmouse   1
White-breasted Nuthatch   1
House Wren   2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher   23
Eastern Bluebird   1
American Robin   1
Northern Mockingbird   1
European Starling   5
Ovenbird   1
Black-and-white Warbler   5
Common Yellowthroat   23
Pine Warbler   4
Yellow-rumped Warbler   1
Eastern Towhee   18
Chipping Sparrow   3
Song Sparrow   4
Swamp Sparrow   1
Northern Cardinal   1
Red-winged Blackbird   30
Brown-headed Cowbird   5

For the record, the whip-poor-will woke me at 5:10 this morning.

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