American Bittern at Mormon Lake
25 Apr 2019, 12:02 PM,
#1
American Bittern at Mormon Lake
This morning, 25 April, there was an American Bittern foraging in the short grass at the northwest corner of Mormon Lake. I believe the last record of this species in Coconino County was in 2012. The bird was visible through a scope from the pull-out between Dairy and Double Springs (watch for road construction machinery!), and was conspicuous as it alternated between its hunch-backed foraging posture and its imitation-of-a-swaying-reed posture (which was not super-effective in the absence of other reeds).

   

   

As I watched the bird moved into drier and taller grass farther from the lakeshore, where it was a bit more cryptic.

Also present at the NW corner of the lake were 2 Forster's Terns, 1 Franklin's Gull, 2 Ring-billed Gulls, 9 American Avocets and a couple hundred ibis.

   

1 Snowy Egret and 2 Great Egrets were at Grass Flat.

1 Solitary Sandpiper was at the pond next to the Mormon Lake Post Office.

   

Purple Martins were present on the south shoreline of the lake.

The edges of Mormon Lake are starting to firm up, and there are numerous good access points to explore for shorebirds and waders all around the shore. Distances are large and a scope is useful, and there are plenty of places for birds to hide.

Jason
Flagstaff, AZ
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25 Apr 2019, 5:17 PM,
#2
RE: American Bittern at Mormon Lake
Nice find Jason. AMBI is such a cool bird. 

The only other one I've seen in Coco was at Kachina in 2008. Dave Lamkin found that bird.

I had difficulty finding it, but did on the far shore of the bright green grass. Took a while.
Tom
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25 Apr 2019, 7:30 PM,
#3
RE: American Bittern at Mormon Lake
Great find Jason! Brooks and I made it out there at 1:30 or so. It took us 10 minutes or so to find it. We watched it for at least 15 minutes as it fed and moved slowly toward the open water. This is only the third time I've seen this species but these were by far the best looks I've had. Very impressive bird.
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