Black-and-white Warbler and Least Bittern at Water Ranch, February 2, 2017

It was a good day at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch (RPWR) today. The highlights were the Black-and-white Warbler (aka B&W), and the Least Bittern.

I got there at around 8:00 AM and stayed until noon. I was hoping to see the Black-and-white Warbler, but happy to see whatever crossed my path. As it turns out, I did find the B&W. He was on the west side of Pond 1, and I got a ton of pictures before he took off.

On the way out I saw a group of people at Pond 5 looking at a Least Bittern. This is the first one I’ve seen. Least Bitterns are difficult to see and photograph because they like to stay in the reeds or bushes and rarely come out. I was able to see it through the bushes on one side of the pond. Then he flew to the other, so I went over there. I had to wait patiently for quite a while hoping he would come out, and fortunately he came out to where I could get a full unobstructed shot. It was very brief as he went from bushes to reeds. It took an extra hour or so, but I was rewarded with a picture of the Least Bittern.

I ran into Jim Burns again (also at Madera Canyon). He is an incredible bird photographer and writer. He used to write a column for the Arizona Republic. You can see his photographs at his website here. He left about two minutes before the Bittern came out. What a shame! I would have loved to see his photos of the bird.

It was a beautiful day. Temperatures were perfect – it started out cold (mid forties), and heated up to the high 60’s when I left.

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