Monday, March 16, 2015

American Bittern at Market Lake

While visiting family in Rexburg in early June we made sure to spend some time at a couple of nearby hotspots: Market Lake and Camas NWR. Our main target for this trip was an American Bittern that others had been finding. They are annual in the state, and likely breed in a few places, but are quite tricky to track down.

IMG_7083

Main road into Market Lake (with a flyover Long-billed Curlew), Jefferson County. June 6, 2014.

The “lake” in Market Lake is actually pretty tricky to see from the main drive. There’s a canal right next to the road, and then a row of reeds behind that, so the best views are the few intermittent patches where the reeds are sparse enough to see over and into the lakes. Even without seeing into the lakes, the canal next to the road usually has plenty of good birds as well. We saw this Western Grebe with a chick on its back right away, our first time actually getting a good view at this child-rearing behavior.

IMG_7098

Western Grebes at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 6, 2014.

There were loads of White-faced Ibis as well. We kept an eye out for any Glossy’s in the mix, as they seem to be annual in very low numbers mixed in with large flocks of White-faced, but couldn’t fine one.

IMG_7120

White-faced Ibis at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 6, 2014.

We had a handful of Black-crowned Night-herons close to the road as well.

IMG_7177

Black-crowned Night-heron at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 6, 2014.

We got to Market Lake pretty late in the day, and were there as the sun started to set. The sunset was beautiful over the wide open landscape.

IMG_7234

Market Lake at Sunset, Jefferson County. June 6, 2014.

As the sky was getting dark the Common Nighthawks came out and buzzed around feeding on insects over the lake.

IMG_7192

Common Nighthawk at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 6, 2014.

Finally, on our way out, with barely a bit of light left in the sky, we came upon the American Bittern we’d been looking for. We never would have spotted it in that amount of light, except that another truck full of birders had found it and had pulled off to look at it.

IMG_7260

American Bittern at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 6, 2014.

While it was nice to find it we were hoping for better views, so we planned a return trip for the next morning. Instead of heading right there, we stopped at Camas NWR at sunrise first.

IMG_7285

Camas NWR at sunrise, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

We hoped to track down a Chestnut-sided Warbler and an Alder Flycatcher that had been found there. We dipped on both, but enjoyed a few other birds in the golden morning light.

IMG_7293

Western Kingbird at Camas NWR, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

IMG_7300

Willow Flycatcher (I promise! We heard it call!) at Camas NWR, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

A quick drive through the auto tour loop turned up a good mix of birds as well.

IMG_7341

Eared Grebe at Camas NWR, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

IMG_7353

Brown-headed Cowbird (female) at Camas NWR, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

Common Yellowthroats can be heard all over the place in the marsh, but they’re awful hard to get a good view of. We finally got a few good views which we were excited for.

IMG_7387

Common Yellowthroat at Camas NWR, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

IMG_7397

Common Yellowthroat at Camas NWR, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

Back at Market Lake, we had a few more good finds while looking for the American Bittern again.

IMG_7425

American White Pelican at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

We finally got photo evidence of the Snowy Egret we’d caught a quick glimpse of the day before. The yellow/orange feet on black legs (or “golden slippers”) are the dead give away for this species.

IMG_7504

Snowy Egret at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

This time we had a chance to walk the west windrow. We found this fledgling Great Horned Owl hopping around. The owls are always easy to find if you just listen for the robins and other birds that tend to mob them during the daytime.

IMG_7516

Great Horned Owl at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

There were several Black-crowned Night-herons hanging out on the far end of the windrow.

IMG_7542

Black-crowned Night-heron at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

Despite how abundant Marsh Wrens are, we had an awful difficult time trying to photograph them. With how many there were at Market Lake we finally managed to get decent photos of a few of them.

IMG_7611

Marsh Wren at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

IMG_7652

Marsh Wren at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

After a while we were about ready to give up on our search for the American Bittern, until we finally spotted it in the field one the opposite side of the road from the lakes. They sure blend in well with their surroundings!

IMG_7736

American Bittern at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

It stayed put for a while and let us get some great views!

IMG_7711

American Bittern at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

American Bittern calling at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

After enjoying the bird for a few minutes it flew across the road and disappeared into the taller reeds, and we couldn’t relocate it again.

IMG_7756

American Bittern at Market Lake, Jefferson County. June 7, 2014.

We had lots of other good birds as well. Check out our full checklists on eBird here:

No comments:

Post a Comment