Thursday, July 3, 2014

B and M's-The Third Search

My readers, I hope you aren't getting sick of the B and M posts.  The Base and Meridian Wildlife Area is close to home, and I'm trying to save money so I can comfortably travel on an upcoming trip.  Last year I had a series of five posts called "Low Budget Birding" after I got in a car accident that was my fault and a chunk of cash was sadly involved.  I could only go to close locales such as Glendale Recharge Ponds and Tres Rios, but there was fun birding involved.  Well, this series can be thought of as more of a positive series of posts that really is a result of Low Budget Birding.  The B and M's are very fun to write about and search for in this recent series.  Today I woke and swore I would find that Clapper Rail this morning, and I hoped it wouldn't avoid me once again.  The "reasonable" weather is gone by 9 A.M., and it's impossible to not feel disgusting from all the muggy heat and nasty sweating.  Birds are always worth the fight though, especially if you see them.  Life as a bird is much easier, just ask the Song Sparrow, who just got out of the bathtub.

I'll say it now, but my Clapper Rail search came up empty, once again.   I stood in a spot that has good rail habitat.  As I stood, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo flew by and landed in a dense riparian tangle close by, and it then called loudly to announce it's presence.  Blue Grosbeaks and Yellow-breasted Chats were also singing in high numbers in the area.  I saw movement in the reeds along the pond I was by, and out came this juvenile Virginia Rail.

A juvenile Virginia Rail in July indicates that the species has bred in the area, as it's early for migration.  The adults were out of sight, but this juvenile Virginia Rail kept coming out of the reeds repeatedly.  It was feeding actively and even bathed in a shallow part of the pond.

I usually don't have views like this of Virginia Rails that are extra cooperative and in the open.  Perhaps this young rail was making a case to be on my list of B and M's.  Instead of a Big 5, he wanted a Big 6.  Young Rail, I'll have to think about it...or you can replace your larger cousin...

As I stood at the pond area and waited, I got lucky as this Least Bittern flew on by.

I've always wanted to get a flight shot of a Least Bittern, and I was very happy with the one I got today.  I then ran into Jim Ripley, who was searching for Yellow-billed Cuckoos.  We were fresh on the trail of an individual, but it remained highly vocal but yet highly elusive.  I took Jim back to the Virginia Rail and Least Bittern pond, and the Least Bittern flew right by us.  It landed on a stand of reeds, and it perched for us.  It was a first for Jim.

Once Jim moved on to continue his Yellow-billed Cuckoo search, I watched the Bittern and stood around in hopes for a Clapper Rail.  The small Least Bittern showed me how it feeds and likes to hide in it's habitat during the time I watched it.  Can you find the Least Bittern in this picture?

Every now and then, we may have one of those lucky sightings.  Today I had a weird one, with that being the Least Bittern venturing out of it's favored cover to sit out on a rock in the open.  A sighting that doesn't occur very often!

Non-bird wise, a few Muskrats were also nearby..

The searches for these birds at B and M were once again fun this morning, maybe more searches will occur this month.  Probably so!

1 comment:

  1. You are the king of seeing hard-to-see birds. A Virginia Rail too? Crazy! I just saw this sneaky, crafty bird for the first time the other night. My sightings were fleeting, and there was no way I could ever get a photo. Great job!