Sunday 30 April 2023
Early Friday morning in pouring rain, Adrian Fenton was at Schenley Park in search of two soras reported the day earlier than on eBird. Soras (Porzana carolina) are uncommon within the Metropolis of Pittsburgh so it was definitely worth the journey to search for them, however strive as he may Adrian couldn’t discover any soras. As an alternative he discovered one thing significantly better.
At 7:29am I used to be writing Friday’s weblog once I obtained Adrian’s Uncommon Hen Alert that there was an American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) among the many reeds at Panther Hole Lake. This chook is uncommon certainly! I dropped the whole lot, placed on my rain gear, and drove 5 minutes to Schenley Park.
Upon arrival I caught up with Adrian and he confirmed me the place the bittern was. Besides that I couldn’t see it at first. Its camouflage is so good that it took me some time to latch onto the chook. Thanks, Adrian, in your persistence!
Extra birders arrived, some trying from above on Panther Hole Bridge. Charity Kheshgi considered from eye degree, as I had, and captured some nice photos of this cryptic chook.
Charity seen that the bittern made a vertical wiggle with its neck and took a video. You may hear the sound of red-winged blackbirds and the ka-thunk of automobiles overhead on the Panther Hole Bridge within the background. The wiggle is typical American bittern habits although I’m unable to search out a proof for it.
By the tip of Friday, 29 individuals had reported the bittern in eBird(*) however many greater than that stopped by for a glance. A few of them missed it on Friday, together with Steve Northrop who discovered a sora that hadn’t been seen all day! See his guidelines with sora picture.
So the day got here full circle with a seek for a sora that discovered a bittern and a seek for a bittern that discovered a sora.
After which yesterday … The bittern and sora had been nonetheless current at Schenley Park on Saturday 29 April with an ever altering crowd of birders, binoculars, cameras and scopes. The group didn’t disturb the birds as the perfect viewing was from (up the hill) gravel paths 40 ft from the closest water. The bittern was seen for many of the day Saturday, however the sora remained elusive. Round 6:30pm each birds put in an look and Steve Northop was there to witness it. Ta Dah!
Search for one factor, discover one other.
Right now 30 April 2023: I don’t know if the bittern and sora are nonetheless at Schenley Park. They might have left with the migrating birds passing overhead final night time.
(images and video by Charity Kheshgi)
(*) Whole rely of eBirders was as much as 52 distinctive guests by finish of day Saturday. Nevertheless, the sightings are presently hidden on eBird.