Wednesday 30 August 2017

Twitch to Mitchell

Well, I guess it wasn't your traditional twitch. My dad and I went to the West Perth Wetlands in search of one rarity, the Glossy Ibis, but in turn came across another rarity.

I was told last night that the Glossy Ibis flew off, but I was optimistic that it possibly had returned. So I convinced my dad to go, and we made the 45 minute drive to West Perth. When we got there, we were told almost right away that the ibis was nowhere to be seen (bummer), but there was a Yellow-headed Blackbird somewhere. The ibis forgotten, we began the search for the bird amongst the reeds.

The shorebird numbers were up from last time I came, and so was the species count (15, up from 10).

Both yellowlegs, Greater and Lesser, could be found. However, the Lesser Yellowlegs outnumbered the Greaters by about 22 to one!

Greater Yellowlegs (longer bill)

Lesser Yellowlegs (shorter bill)

Stilt Sandpipers were around in decent numbers, and I counted around eleven of them.

This Painted Turtle was crossing the path.

Pectoral Sandpiper numbers were also up.


This Sanderling was associating with some Least Sandpipers and Killdeer in the fenced-in cell. On eBird, the Sanderling is flagged as rare in Perth. A noteworthy bird for sure.

There was a large group of American Golden-Plovers that had come in.

There were a couple Short-billed Dowitchers present.

Two Wilson's Snipe were working the reed beds.

While I was looking at the dowitchers, my dad said that he had found a "black bird with a yellow chest". Soon after, we were both looking at a female Yellow-headed Blackbird.

She soon disappeared into the reeds, and we were unable to relocate her.

Just as we were about to leave, another birder told me about an American Bittern in the far cell. After he patiently showed me where it was (those bitterns are hard to find!), he went on to try to find the Yellow-headed, leaving just me and the bittern.

After watching it awhile, I saw it catch a frog.

Then it walked out into the open, the first time I've seen a bittern do that.

It then settled down into a clump of reeds, which is where I left it.

While I may have missed the Glossy Ibis, the other rarities I saw made up for it. If the year continues the way it is going, I'm sure I'll have another chance at seeing the ibis. Great outing!


  1. Sorry the Ibis didn't show up, but you definitely saw some amazing stuff anyway. I would love to be able to see a yellow-headed blackbird sometime.

    1. Well, that's birding! The other species were a nice surprise.

  2. Nice photos of the bittern, Quinten! I've never seen a bittern out in the open like that.

    1. They sure are elusive! Usually the only time I see the whole bird is when it is in flight.