Parker River NWR, 1 July

A small group of birders (9) got together for an outing today. Masks and distancing were part of the experience of course. There was a misty rain as we started but the sun broke out before we finished. One highlight of the walk was the appearance of a Least Bittern that was rumored to be nesting in a nearby pond. It flew into the end of the pond near us, climbed around in the phragmites for a while and then flew off to another pond. They usually hunt deep in the weeds and are hard to spot but this one climbed instead.

A Willet flew in to watch us while we watched the Bittern. And a flycatcher hunted nearby as well. There are two species of flycatchers around the refuge at this time, the common Willow Flycatcher and the quite uncommon Alder Flycatcher. They can really only be distinguished in the field by their song and this one wasn’t talking. An Alder has been spotted several times in the area where we were exploring. But since this one was filling its beak with insects and staying quiet, we can only say that we think we saw one!

Another special sighting was a Tricolored Heron flying with a couple of Snowy Egrets. They are uncommon up north and but fairly common in the southern US. It was formerly called the Louisiana Heron.

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