Happy 4th all

I flushed a single black bellied whistling duck   6 15  this morn at   Marais Temps Clair CA,St Charles Co

 The  bird was in the extreme ne corner of pool 1 near the pump station..I saw the bird as it flew from the pool over the levy and out into a large flooded farm field where I lost sight of it as it went behind some willows.The flooded field is adjacent but out of the CA area proper

 The easiest way to access the spot is to park at the MTC lot off of 94.After one walks out from the lot turn left and walk down to the corner.This is the general area I saw the bird this morning

 Always have to wonder about the origin of "vagrant" waterfowl around St Charles Co do to the many duck hunting clubs and farms in the area that have exotic waterfowl.I know of a spot not too far from MTC that has several egyptian geese,a shelduck and a couple of muscovy ducks that are definitely not of wild origin,haha

 That said I didn't see any type of banding on the bird.Still,be it of wild or domestic origin,very cool bird to see.

 Try to get up to MTC a couple times each summer to look for nesting bb-cuckoos and least bitterns.Unfortunately the only cuckoos I came across were of the yellow-billed variety this morning

 Am happy to say the least bittern pop seems to be really good this year .Had 9 individual birds this morning.
 The best way look for and view the least bitterns is to get down to the ne corner of pool 1 around 530 am and walk back towards the parking lot with the rising sun to ones back scanning out into the pool for flying birds.Always forget how small these guys are.With all the red-wings flying around they can be easy to miss

 The habitat this year at MTC is really good.Quite a contrast between this time last year where the only birds nesting in many of the wetland cells were indigo buntings and common yellowthroats due to the drought.Those same areas this year have families of hooded mergansers and wood ducks

 Other birds of note
moorhen-at least one calling .Also near the ne corner of pool 1
 several of both species of oriole
 prothonotary warbler-4,great crested flycatcher,eastern kingbirds,pewees
-Big flight of egrets,little blues,great blue herons,cattle egrets flying over at first light
 -blue grosbeaks
 A very active eastern screech owl giving the seldom heard single alarm call and flying around a lot at 500 am this morn near the handicapped hunters duck blind

 Was unable to find any willow flycatchers
 -Coyotes hunting along the levy

Mike Brady
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