A great day on the Bashakill!

A beautiful view, the channel looking west through the islands.

This morning I kayaked the Bashakill. It was a beautiful, cool morning, just right to be out on the water. There was a lot of bird activity this morning and I really enjoyed getting a sense of what is happening out there. I started from the Main Boat Launch and paddled about three quarters of a mile east. In the first really long stretch of straight channel you come to, I found my first LEAST BITTERN on the north side of the channel. It called continually, but was deep in the Pickerel Weed and I couldn’t get a glimpse. From there I headed west, past the Eagle Island and on to the far end of the kill. The eagles were active in the area of the nest, I could hear the chicks calling and could see an adult on the top of the tree.

One of the adult Bald Eagles on the nest tree.

I was counting Common Gallinules as I went, many were vocalizing all along the channel. Once I reached the south end of the kill, I almost immediately heard a Least Bittern calling right along the channel. It only took a minute before his calls were answered, and a presumed pair vocalized back and forth for the next half hour. One was on the left side of the channel, the other on the right. Needless to say, even though it seemed like I could reach out and touch them, not a glimpse! Great Blue Herons were feeding here and there as I went along as well. I was getting more land birds as I went along too. I finally headed back to the boat launch with a nice tally of birds. Once I reached the launch, I ran into Les Hallock. He informed me that there is a Common Gallinule near the bridge with six chicks, and showed me a photo of them. I headed right down there. Upon arriving, a couple of fisherman I know informed me of where they were. By now however they were deep in the weeds. I could hear them, and get an occasional glimpse, but no photo. Still its nice to know they are out and I will surely get lots more opportunities for photos.

One of the Common Gallinules I was able to photograph this morning.

I ended the morning with 54 species, most notably 20 Common Gallinules, 3 Least Bittern and 2 Great Blue Herons. No American Bittern or Green Herons this morning, but they are out there!

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