My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Black-headed Gull, American Bittern, and Yellow-throated Warbler

Published April 25, 2014
Tags: Life List Happenings, Black-headed Gull, American Bittern, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Virginia Rail, Yellow-throated Warbler, Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper

Two life birds in one day; it doesn't happen very often any more! My greatest nemesis, the American Bittern, finally showed itself to me today at Tifft Nature Preserve.  I watched it fly out of the marsh and land towards the beginning of the boardwalk. As I started towards it, it flew back out again - and I was even able to recover my presence of mind enough to  get a few photos of this long-time nemesis.

Earlier this morning, a Black-headed Gull, a difficult bird to find, was found by Jim Pawlicki on the Niagara River.  Thanks to Jim, I got a chance to see it. What a neat looking bird too.  It's very similar to a Bonaparte's Gull, yet very different in several ways. Its head coloring is not the black of a Bonie, but more of a dark brown.  Its bill and feet are dark red and it's dark under its primaries. This gull is also a bit larger than a Bonie and has a lighter gray mantle.  In spite of all these differences, this bird can easily be misidentified.  I was thrilled to have the chance to watch it for awhile and even got to hear its deeper call. Thanks, Jim!

Later on, at Tifft - and before the bittern appeared - I found a Yellow-throated Warbler out near Lisa Pond. I managed a quick few shots before it disappeared behind the blind and off to who-knows-where...

The fact that there are THREE Yellow-throated Warblers in the WNY area right now is just amazing.  The first warbler, found by Joe Fell, is being seen at Forest Lawn Cemetery, another was found by Sal today at Amherst State Park, and now this one. This warbler has distinctly white lores, but I understand from Jim Pawlicki that the differentiation of the two subspecies is not all that cut-and-dry due to some other subtle differences (i.e. longer bill on the eastern bird) and cross-breeding.  Usually, this is a rare find, but maybe it's becoming a regular in WNY!

Other birds of interest today were: a Virginia Rail, 2 Palm Warblers, 3 Brown Creepers, at least 8 Yellow-rumped Warblers, and equally as many Hermit Thrushes, and gosh - probably a good 20 Ruby-crowned Kinglets and White-throated Sparrows whose eerie whistle-like calls filled the preserve.  In spite of the dreary weather, it was a good day for migrants!
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American Bittern - nemesis bird CONQUERED!
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American Bittern
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American Bittern
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Black-crowned Night Heron
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Black-headed Gull
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Black-headed Gull
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Bonaparte's Gull on left, Black-headed Gull on right
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Black-headed Gull
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Black-headed Gull
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Northern Rough-winged Swallow
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Virginia Rail
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Virginia Rail foraging in the marsh
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Virginia Rail
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Virginia Rail
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Yellow-throated Warbler
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Yellow-throated Warbler
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Yellow-rumped Warbler (male)
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Yellow-rumped Warbler (female)
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low-rumped Warbler (male)
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Palm Warbler
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Ruby-crowned Kinglet
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Brown Creeper
Reply from: Gale on 4/27/2014 5:12 PM
 Congratulations on the American Bittern sighting Sue!