Saturday, March 10, 2012

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait......

And wait...... and wait........

I spent the day birding the waterfront today, and decided to cap it off with a quick walk around Swan Lake. The action started right at the parking lot, wtih Cedar Waxwings, Pine Siskins, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, and others.

I was hoping to run across some of the recently seen swallows, but had no luck. The Marsh Wrens around the lake were very vocal, and there were good numbers of Bushtits flitting along the lakeside. A few Yellow-rumped Warblers were present around the lake as well.

When I reached the south end of the lake, my plans for a quick walk were derailed when I stopped at a small vantage point, and immediately heard a "glunk-a-lunk" coming from the grass, very close. For the next hour, the American Bittern stayed in the same spot, calling every ten minutes or so. It then moved ten feet or so to the west, and continued calling every ten minutes for another half an hour. Despite staring intently into the grass for 90 minutes, looking for a three foot tall heron that was vocalizing, I had no luck.

See the Bittern? Me neither!

After 90 minutes, the bittern became very active, calling almost constantly (every minute or two) and moving around. I would see the grass moving, and started feeling like I was watching "E.T.", seeing scurrying and no small heron. Finally, after almost two hours, I caught a quick glimpse of the bird! A couple of more glimpses as the bird trucked around the flooded field, and then it came out into a small opening in the grass, head and neck pointed skyward in some sort of display.

The bird eventually moved further away. We took this as a sign to head home, and could still hear the glunk-a-lunking for some distance down the trail.

A couple of days with a combined observation time of almost four hours, and finally I got my year look at #142. Well worth the wait!

Good birding,

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