Monday, May 25, 2015

Brig 5/25--Least Bittern

Another visit to Brig today, this time with Shari. I was hoping to find the Wilson's Phalarope again, but didn't have the same luck as I did yesterday. And there were a lot more birds to look through compared to the previous day:
This is just a tiny sample of the literally acres of birds on view today. I estimated 6000 Dunlin alone, plus a couple thousand more Semipalmated Sandpipers and scores of Black-bellied Plovers, dowitchers and the like.  Despite not finding the phalarope, we had a great circuit around the impoundments.

Probably the best bird of the day, possibly the best bird of the year, we found first thing down at the gull pond. Shari was scoping the pond on the right side of the dike and I walked over to look in on the other side when I saw a blackbird chasing a larger, buffy bird out of the reeds. Immediately I knew what it was and I shouted, "Shari, Shari, look at the bird!" as it flew right by me, veered over the hood of our car and dove down into the reeds in front of Shari, vanishing. But we both got great looks at the bird with dark remiges and buffy coverts--a Least Bittern. I suspect that the bittern blundered too close to the blackbird's nest while it sneaked through the reeds and the blackbird was having none of it, even though a bittern wouldn't be a threat (I don't think). I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've seen a Least Bittern and I've never had one fly so close to me. An excellent sighting which made any other birds we found gravy.

And we got a couple of good ones too. After sorting through the thousands of shorebirds and not finding the one we were really looking for, we moved on up the road past the observation tower. We'd seen a few Glossy Ibises here and there, no big numbers, and in the southeast pool we found another ibis next to a Great Egret. But this one, Shari noticed, had red legs.
And while you can't really see it in the photo, a red eyeball. And heavy white around the face:
All of which adds up to a White-faced Ibis. I've seen a couple this month, but this was FOY for Shari.

Yesterday I was able to see the continuing American White Pelican in the middle of the pools. It was distant, but the bird is so big that picking it out was easy once someone pointed me in the right direction. Today we weren't able to find it from the usual vantage points. I was just starting to wonder where that bird would go when it wasn't at Brig when we were coming up to an island, just before the drive goes into the woods, where Black Skimmers, terns, and gulls usually hang out. In the midst of the skimmers and plovers and other shorebirds was one huge, white bird. Even with its head tucked in we could tell it was the pelican.
You can just see the black wing tips and small portion of the yellow beak. 

Other birds we were happy to find were Whimbrels, Ruddy Turnstones, and of course, American Oystercatchers. One species we didn't find, hard to believe, was Great Blue Heron.

Here's the list for our one turn around the dikes:
50 species
Canada Goose  25
Mute Swan  3
Wood Duck  7     entrance pond
American Black Duck  2
Mallard  4
Double-crested Cormorant  50
American White Pelican  1     
Least Bittern  1     
Great Egret  15
Snowy Egret  5
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1
Glossy Ibis  12
White-faced Ibis  1     
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  5
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
American Oystercatcher  4
Black-bellied Plover  100
Semipalmated Plover  20
Willet  25
Whimbrel  12
Ruddy Turnstone  10
Dunlin  6000
Least Sandpiper  50
Semipalmated Sandpiper  2000
Short-billed Dowitcher  100
Laughing Gull  200
Ring-billed Gull  1
Herring Gull  50
Great Black-backed Gull  10
Gull-billed Tern  2
Caspian Tern  1
Forster's Tern  25
Black Skimmer  89
Peregrine Falcon  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  1     Heard
American Crow  1     Heard
Fish Crow  2
Purple Martin  15
Tree Swallow  2
Barn Swallow  3
Marsh Wren  1     Heard
Gray Catbird  1     Heard
Common Yellowthroat  5
Yellow Warbler  
Chipping Sparrow  1     Heard
Seaside Sparrow  5
Red-winged Blackbird  50
Brown-headed Cowbird  2

No comments:

Post a Comment