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Least Bitterns

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  • Michael Hill
    While assisting with a duck count via airboat on Lake Jackson (Leon County) today (July 25), I encountered 11 (eleven) least bitterns. There seemed to be at
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 25 7:16 PM
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      While assisting with a duck count via airboat on Lake Jackson (Leon
      County) today (July 25), I encountered 11 (eleven) least bitterns. There
      seemed to be at least one at every black rush (Juncus) rimmed "sinkhole",
      e.g. Porter Sink, Faulk Dr.,Church's Cove, Crowder Landing, Megginnis Arm,
      Ford's Arm, Cattle Gap, Miller Landing, etc. As we approached the Old
      Bainbridge road park (Turnbull Park) we started to get into some rain and we
      left before we got a closer look. By that time, I began to suspect that
      there was one in there, but we chose to flee the storm. Consequently, we
      did not get to scout the Hwy 27 area either, the site where I saw 2 American
      Bitterns last winter and spring. Maybe yes, maybe no.
      We also saw about 60 wood duck at the SE corner of Church's Cove, and
      about 6 BW teal at the Little River area. We did not see any harriers or
      other raptors. Shorebirds were scarce, I only recall seeing one killdeer.
      Common moorhens were ubiquitous as were their chicks.
      FYI, water levels on Lake Jackson are LOW! The gauge reading today was
      79.8' NGVD. The statistical average of the lake is 85.0', a usable lake
      level can be seen at about 83.0'. IF the lake drops another foot, it is
      likely that the Porter Sink will again reclaim the south end of the lake as
      it did in Sept. 1999. Although the frequent afternoon showers are
      important, it appears that we need another good soaking for the lake to rise
      significantly. Thought you might like to know.
      May this post make it to Gail Menk, please.

      Michael Hill
      Fishery biologist
      Tallahassee, FL
    • Michael Hill
      Yesterday, I had the pleasure of surveying two Tallahassee area lakes on a beautiful May day (28th). First, in the morning I worked Alford Arm, the northern
      Message 2 of 2 , May 29, 2003
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        Yesterday, I had the pleasure of surveying two Tallahassee area lakes on a beautiful May day (28th). First, in the morning I worked Alford Arm, the northern part of Lake Lafayette, and flushed a ragged looking Least Bittern. My impression was that it was am immature/new fledgling which would seem to indicate that it was born there. During my brief glimpse of the bird, I observed some whitish downy-like feathers scattered over its body. My Sibley doesn't indicate what color a very young bird would look like, but it looked young to me.
        After lunch, we surveyed the very low Lake Jackson. (Let's hope that the active tropical storm season predicted for this summer will occur and help us out.) I saw at least six Least Bitterns. One in Megginnis Arm, one in Ford's Arm and the others in the lake interior. All appeared to be adults, males and females. The only bird that might be viewed by walking birders might be at Ford's Arm, which was directly in front of the boat ramp off Rhoden Cove road. For those of you interested. Gail Menk?
        Michael Hill
        Tallahassee, FL

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