Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mercer Corporate Park 6/11--Least Bittern

The latest rarity to show up at magical Mercer Corporate Park--where in the recent past Barnacle Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Red Phalarope (!), and Common Gallinule have all been sighted and which still hosts a very vocal King Rail--is Least Bittern. If you think finding an American Bittern is difficult, then try finding this bittern, which is about half the size and a lot shyer.

So this morning, Mike and I decided to run over there and give it a try. We arrived about 7:30 and there were already a few birders peering into the reeds of the second pond. The bittern and the rail had both been sighted, we were told, though past is not prologue with these two birds since if they decide not to be seen, they will not be seen.

After about a half hour of standing around, where Willow Flycatcher and Orchard Oriole were the highlights, we heard a squawk and the bittern flew out of the phragmites, glided to a branch, perched for a moment, then dropped back down into the reeds, where, however, we were able to locate it and with a scope, see it very clearly. That there was a horizontal log in the vicinity helped with location directions. Photography, unfortunately, was not an option once I missed the perching opportunity.

Always good to get a year bird and I felt compelled to say, yet again, that while my Mercer County list isn't very large, what's on it is tasty. We were just about to leave when the King Rail started to call--KEK-KEK-KEK-KEK--which was just gravy.

Having only spent 37 minutes there and feeling pretty frisky, Mike suggested we go over to the Pole Farm (once an AT&T transmission array, though most of the poles are down) and look for Bobolink. We walked through the grasslands on both sides of the park for a distance of about 2 miles but it appears the Bobolinks are on nest and not inclined to show themselves. We had to settle for sightings and hearings of Grasshopper Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, a couple of kestrels, Least Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting (which, by the way, isn't indigo, which is fine, since indigo as a color doesn't actually exist--Newton just threw it in there because he thought the number of colors in the spectrum should match the number of musical notes) and spectacular looks at a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak--again, photography was not an option as these auto-focusing cameras insist on focusing on the branches and leaves and not the bird.

In fact, the only picture I took all day was of this Field Sparrow--we were hearing them pretty often today (some of them doing what can only be described as a backward bouncing ping-pong ball song), but this one, the only one I saw, was posted up on a branch and was content to just stay there.

So Bobolink remains unsighted and unheard, though hearing their little "plink" flight calls overhead will not be very satisfying. Someone said that early in the morning at the Pole Farm the Bobolinks are out, but the place is a good hour away from here and maybe more with weekday traffic on I-195, so I may have to seek other options.

My list for the day came out to 48 species
Species               Location
Canada Goose  Mercer Corporate Park
Least Bittern  Mercer Corporate Park
Great Blue Heron  Mercer Corporate Park
Green Heron  Mercer Corporate Park
Turkey Vulture   Pole Farm
King Rail  Mercer Corporate Park
Mourning Dove   Pole Farm
Chimney Swift  Mercer Corporate Park
Red-bellied Woodpecker   Pole Farm
Downy Woodpecker   Pole Farm
Hairy Woodpecker   Pole Farm
American Kestrel   Pole Farm
Eastern Wood-Pewee   Pole Farm
Willow Flycatcher  Mercer Corporate Park
Least Flycatcher   Pole Farm
Great Crested Flycatcher   Pole Farm
Red-eyed Vireo   Pole Farm
Blue Jay   Pole Farm
American Crow   Pole Farm
Tree Swallow   Pole Farm
Barn Swallow  Mercer Corporate Park
Carolina Chickadee   Pole Farm
Tufted Titmouse   Pole Farm
House Wren   Pole Farm
Wood Thrush   Pole Farm
American Robin   Pole Farm
Gray Catbird   Pole Farm
Northern Mockingbird  Mercer Corporate Park
European Starling   Pole Farm
Cedar Waxwing   Pole Farm
Ovenbird   Pole Farm
Common Yellowthroat   Pole Farm
Yellow Warbler  Mercer Corporate Park
Grasshopper Sparrow   Pole Farm
Chipping Sparrow  Mercer Corporate Park
Field Sparrow  Mercer Corporate Park
Song Sparrow  Mercer Corporate Park
Eastern Towhee   Pole Farm
Scarlet Tanager   Pole Farm
Northern Cardinal   Pole Farm
Rose-breasted Grosbeak   Pole Farm
Indigo Bunting   Pole Farm
Red-winged Blackbird  Mercer Corporate Park
Eastern Meadowlark   Pole Farm
Common Grackle  Mercer Corporate Park
Brown-headed Cowbird  Mercer Corporate Park
Orchard Oriole  Mercer Corporate Park
American Goldfinch  Mercer Corporate Park

No comments:

Post a Comment