American Bittern – Lebrun Meadow 6/13

Took a damp walk today around Lebrun Meadow to check on bird boxes and activity of any grassland birds. A pair of agitated Tree Swallows are still actively attending one box with young, and I am sure are soon to depart. Also had 4 male Bobolinks that had laid claim to certain spots in the meadow. Hopefully, the females were preoccupied.

Made a quick visit down to the beaver impoundment next to the lake, and was fortunate to spot an American Bittern along the marshy edge. From a distance of +/- 60 ft. I was able to watch the activity for at least 20 minutes. Along with entertaining me with its very slow stalking gait, the Bittern caught a small horned pout, which it promptly adjusted to gulp down head first. After the quick meal, I was treated to a head-on display of a fully extended vertical posture, with bold stripes showing and a couple very slow head twists thrown in for good measure. What a time to not have my scope and camera!

Lebrun Meadow is a 22 acre parcel owned by the City of Lebanon, with conservation easement held by the Upper Valley Land Trust.

David Jorgensen
Lebanon NH