Basha Kill 5/12/12

One of the many Red-winged Blackbirds out at the Basha Kill

I spent a long day birding out at the Basha Kill today. I started out on Haven Road, hoping to see an American Bittern again. I ran into a large group of birders- members of the Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club ( They had just spotted an American Bittern, but it was in the weeds and out of view. The group moved on, but I stayed for a while and I kept looking back to where the bittern had been found and eventually I was rewarded as the bittern flew most of the way across the Kill, only to disappear into the weeds once again.

Next I went to the Deli Fields where I saw Baltimore Orioles collecting nesting materials, many Song Sparrows, a Brown Thrasher (first of season for me), and I got a really nice look at an immature Bald Eagle. The Bald Eagle took me by surprise and was too far away for any good photos before I knew it. In general, it was a frustrating day with the camera. I was slow on the draw all day,  and in addition to that struggled with my settings, forgetting to make the proper changes as the conditions changed.

A good example of my camera struggles occurred at my next stop, the nature trail. I had a Yellow Warbler taking a bath, splashing around having a good time. I had just finished trying to get some shots of an adult Bald Eagle in bright sunlight and this warbler was in the shade. Lesson learned: It is so important for me to be aware of my current settings and change them as the light conditions change. Here is the best picture I got:

I really think I could have gotten some nice photos of this bird if I had my settings right.

I went to the “stop sign trail” next to try and see some warblers. I probably went there a little too late in the day- there was not much bird activity. I did see: more Baltimore Orioles, Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and a Common Yellowthroat. I ran into Maryallison Farley from the Basha Kill Area Association. As always, it was really nice to see her and she invited me to go up to her place to get some photos of the Eastern Bluebirds that are nesting there:

Eastern Bluebird that is nesting in Maryallison Farleys yard at the Basha Kill. Thanks Maryallison!

At the end of the day I had identified 28 species, which not bad for me, but only a fraction of what can be seen out there. In addition, I saw and photographed a couple flycatchers which I continue to struggle to identify. The American Bittern in flight was the highlight of the day for me. Here are some more photos:

An Eastern Kingbird was hunting under the bridge on Haven Road
This Tree Swallow was also at Maryallison Farley's place.
An American Redstart sings.
Gray Catbirds are everywhere out at the Basha Kill.

2 thoughts on “Basha Kill 5/12/12”

  1. Looks like you had a pretty good day, Matt. Watching the yellow warbler splashing in the water would have been a highlight for me. My goal is to see something new on every trip and it doesn’t have to be a new species. The warbler bathing would have been fun to watch. I stopped on Haven Drive late this afternoon and heard the Bittern. It took me about 15 minutes but I finally spotted him out beyond the bend in the channel. He was too far out for a decent picture with my camera, but I was happy to see him anyway.

  2. Watching that Yellow Warbler splash around was definitely a highlight for me too – I was just bummed at the missed opportunity for a good photo. You should have seen this bird, he was really going to town!

    Nice one finding the bittern. That’s a bird that I definitely have on the brain these days. I was so happy to one on Saturday and in flight no less!

    I like your goal of trying to see something new on every trip even if it is not a new species. I am going to make it my goal too – I think it is a great way to think about birding.

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