American Coot at the Bashakill 5/23/13 potentially breeding?
I met Danny Messina at the Bash this morning and we birded the Orchard/Stop Sign Trail and the Nature Trail. The only migrants I saw were four Blackpoll Warblers. All the regular breeders were present including at least two Cerulean Warblers. A first year male Orchard Oriole seems to be singing on territory at the Nature Trail. Look for it near the board walk and the Tulip Tree. When we were done, I kayaked the channel from the main boat launch to Westbrookville and back, passing the launch heading east. My goal was to find some Least Bittern, but I didn’t find any today. As I headed east from the launch, I flushed a bird in the pickerel weed. It splashed around in the weeds and eventually came out in front of me. I surprised to see and AMERICAN COOT. The bird gave several cackling alarm calls and flew down channel about 150 feet. In stead of retreating into the weeds, it swam back and forth in the channel, giving an alarm call periodically. All of this speaks of breeding behavior. The bird never had to show itself at all. As I sat there, I heard several alarm calls from deep in the pickerel weed. I have a difficult time discerning Gallinule calls from Coot calls, but I think it was a second coot. This is the second year in a row the American Coot has been found in this area during the breeding season. I hope to eventually confirm breeding here. Other highlights of the trip included at least a dozen COMMON GALLINULE and one PIED-BILLED GREBE.
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