Thursday, June 2, 2011

American Bittern - CHECK!

Spring weather did not follow me to Cape Breton,
but I had a lovely ride up
through central Maine to Caribou and beyond!!

We happened across a very large flock of the ubiquitous 
Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata),
feasting along the banks of a river,
which afforded a great photo op!

Generally, I'll take several pictures,
hoping for one or two keepers,
but this day, they were all good.

Further along on our trip north, we pulled into a nice, bug infested spot,

hoping to see a Rail or perhaps a Sora.  Much to our surprise, we
found an American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus!),

who graced us with his appearance for quite a long while.
Funny how the black flies didn't seem to be a bother at all
while  I was consumed with the excitementitis at 
the arrival of this bird.

I was amazed at the size of this wading bird
as it flew in to check us out. 
It's wingspan was between 37" - 45" wide.
But then I learned the American Bittern 
is a member of the heron family
and it's size made a little more sense.

If the Bittern thinks it has been seen, it will point it's bill upward,
and blend right in with the reeds and cattails.

If you've never heard a Bittern, you need to
take an extra moment to give a listen!!
You won't be disappointed, but you might be a little surprised.

American Bittern - CHECK!
Number 299 on my life list!!  Yay!

I owe a lot of thanks to my brother-in-law,
who made a special effort to stop here,
knowing I'd never seen any of these three elusive birds
(a Sora, a Rail, or a Bittern).


TexWisGirl said...

oh what an awesome sound!!! i knew they were extremely elusive and could camoflage extremely well. great job spotting him! and the 'water-dripping' sound is awesome!

Azhita said...

Oh wow, that's awesome! Nice score! Cha-ching!


Sondra said...

Dont you love it when people go out of their way to accomodate you? That is so nice!..AND wow was it worth it, what great photos of the Yellow Rump and the Bittern, a super find Ive yet to see one!! 299WOW one more to break the big 3 0 0

Kay L. Davies said...

Wow, Karen, what an amazing sound! And the sky-pointing to camouflage itself in the reeds works amazingly well. I really had to work to see its bill after it did that. Great work on your part!
I love the little masked face of the yellow-rumped warbler.
Thanks to your brother-in-law from all of us!
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Simone de Klerk said...

How very impressive, Karen. I couldn't find the sound button. Could be the ipad. I'll have to try tomorrow.
Such a camouflage. I enlarged the pictures to get a better look.
The small bird is very pretty too. Love the 'mask'.

FAB said...

Bittern booming .. a glorious sound that I first recall hearing way back in the 70's thanks to an kind man who prevented me from leaving a bird hide as in his words 2there is something special out there in the reeds". Excellent pics as well Karen.

Anonymous said...

Love the call. Made me giggle.

PS my word verification is "crablent". :)

FlourishingPalms said...

Definitely an unusual-sounding bird! Made me think I was out in the swamp someplace. Sort of a froggish sound.

I didn't know you were on a life search/count for birds. Good for you! I love birds, but have never specifically tallied the ones I've seen. When in Australia, I always noted the many varied birds and the sounds they made. And when I returned home, it's the first thing I missed! Nothing sounds quite like a yellow-breasted cockatoo. My theory is that ugly birds make pretty sounds; pretty birds make ugly sounds. God made sure each of them had a feature to be proud of, didn't He?

john bord said...

Great stuff, great place and great pictures.

Abby and Stephanie said...

Your photos are amazing. The warbler photos are worthy of framing. Thank you for sharing these amazing birds. I get excited seeing just a robin's nest in my trumpet vine with 4 eggs. One hatched yesterday. :o)

Anonymous said...

Hello Karen, thankyou I enjoyed your photographs....Warm Regards, Lyn

Lois Evensen said...

What a fun outing! Excellent images. :)

Audrey said...

wonderful photos!!
You have cuter birds than we do. Or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough :)

Kjell T. Evensen said...

What a beautiful little fellow wearing a mask.

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

How cool! There are so many beautiful creatures on this wonderful earth that I have never heard of. Thanks for showing me this delightful character!
xx, shell

Carrie P. said...

Great photos of both birds.
I did go and listen to the bittern. Very interesting.
And I listened to the warbler. very pretty.
I am so excited because we have a wood thrush this summer. I love to hear his song.

Bob Bushell said...

Amazing to see the American Bittern, he/she takes a good photo.

Anonymous said...

Great look at the bittern. They really do blend in well with the reeds.

And that butter-butt looks like he has an attitude problem!

DeniseinVA said...

Great series of photos, thanks Karen. The call of the Bittern is an amazing sound and what a cute little bird the
Yellow-rumped Warbler is. I have yet to sight one of those.

Anonymous said...

We had large flocks of yellow rumped warblers in the valley as the snow was melting. Now that spring has finally sprung, I think many of these beautifully dressed birds are moving along to the higher elevations and latitudes. I haven't gotten to see too many bitterns. They love to act invisible.

Carmen Troncoso Baeza said...

Wonderful pictures, saludos desde Chile

JRandSue said...

Congratulations Karen,great Bittern shots.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Karen: Wonderful captures of the neat birds. I really like your header.

Unknown said...

What a lovely little bird! The yellows are fantastic. Beautiful scenery and colours on photo #4.

Kay Baughman said...

Great spot! I love that sound, too.

John said...


Well done, have you reached the 300 since this has been posted. I just love the Springtime I can walk and listen to the Booming Bitterns...Nature can inspire and lift us like nothing else can. John