Today, my wife and I birded the "desert loop" starting at the Tonopah Cemetery where it was 35 degrees and hailing, and ending at Lida. Overall, there were a TON of birds at most stops with various flycatchers (Dusky, Hammond's, Wood Pewees, Gray, some Pacific Slope thankfully calling, and a few Olive-Sided) making up the bulk followed by many Black-Headed Grosbeaks and Western Tanagers, and several Swainson's Thrushes. Warblers mainly consisted of Wilson's and Yellow with a few MacGillivray's, Common Yellowthroat, Chats, and Yellow-Rumped. There were also Spotted Sandpipers at almost every stop with 29 at the Dyer Pond.
However, the highlight of the day was getting great looks at a Least Bittern along the south shore of the denuded Dyer Pond. We walked out along the south shore and when we doubled back, the Bittern lifted up from the reeds right beside us, flew about 20 feet against the wind allowing us great views in the sun, and landed at the edge of the reeds where it immediately went into "disguise mode" by erecting itself straight up like a reed. Of course the one time I didn't have my camera with me so my wife went to get the camera while I continued staring at the Bittern location. When she returned, it took some time before she caught glimpses of the Bittern only to lose it while trying to get me to hone in on it. The reeds were not very thick but try as we might, we never did get good looks at it even though it was no more than 25 feet away. Rather humbling to be outsmarted by the Bittern. After about 35-40 minutes of trying, we gave up so we could move on.
Other birds of note included an immature Common Loon on one of the ponds at Arlemont Ranch and a Common Nighthawk flying around the other Arlemont pond.
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