Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Least Bitterns along Paris Road in Chalmette
Yesterday I had just enough time while en route to an appointment in Chalmette, to exploit a handy pullover on Paris Road, facing the marsh and the city skyline. I had time for two quick binocular scans.
First scan: an adult Tricolored Heron, a Least Tern, a Great Egret, another Least Tern, a Great Blue Heron- and a Least Bittern flying low over the marsh, left to right. I watched it for several seconds before it plopped down. Second scan, add a Snowy Egret, and then another Least Bittern, closer to me, flying right to left, big buffy wing patches on display. It also plopped down into the marsh after maybe ten seconds of flight. I imagine these are adults scrambling back and forth to get food to bring to their young.
When I was growing up in Massachusetts, the only realistic chance of Least Bittern was at one spot at the coast, Hellcat Swamp on Plum Island, where you had to be really lucky to see a bird in flight over the reed tops (there may have been only one nesting pair). It was a two hour drive, each way. Louisiana has such a wealth of marsh birds- gotta love it.