Date: 11/3/17 9:40 pm From: <sparvophile...> [NEBirds] <NEBirds...> Subject: [NEBirds] Least Bittern in Stanton County
Spent this afternoon (November 3) birding Stanton County, and was much surprised to find a Least Bittern just south of Pilger.
The bird was in cattails on the south side of a large sandpit lake on the west side of Highway 15, just across from Red Fox WMA. I found it perched about a foot above the water's surface in a fairly sparse stand of cattails, more or less out in the open. I looked at it for just long enough to identify it, then frantically tore open my camera bag. Unfortunately, it took several seconds to get the camera out, turn it on, and run out the zoom lens, and toward the end of those several seconds the bird flew into dense cattails and vanished. I tried playing Least calls, but apparently got no response; it didn't help that there was lots of traffic on Highway 15, and the calls I was playing were drowned out by the roaring of grain trucks zooming by.
Brief look, as I said, and I didn't study the bird in detail. About the same shape as a Green Heron, but smaller. Conspicuous oval buff patch taking up most of the folded wing. Some dark green on the upperparts; some streaking in the center of the foreneck.
I don't have access to the arrival-and-departure dates for this bird, but eBird has no November sightings in Nebraska; the single November record close to here is one near St. Joseph, Missouri, on November 11, 1986.