We found ourselves up island in Nanaimo over the weekend, to celebrate our friend Dave's Canadian citizenship success. A boozy night of jollity and japes ensued.
While Jenny went off to sort out some business early this afternoon, I sought out some clear air and a few birds with a trundle around Buttertubs Marsh.
Water levels were relatively high, meaning that there was little in the way of exposed boggy areas to attract rails, waders, etc. I heard a couple of Virginia rails, but none showed themselves.
Scanning from the raised viewing platform I spotted something in the distance that looked rather interesting. Large, brown and streaky, and shaped something like a teardrop, it was an American bittern!
The customary crappy photo here (blown up quite a bit) gives you an idea of just how far away the thing was.
This was actually the first American bittern that I have seen in North America - the last one I saw was a vagrant in Blackpool, Lancashire in 1991!
Other interesting birds of note seen while at Buttertubs included a party of 6 greater white-fronted geese that dropped in, while passerine highlights included reasonable numbers of yellow-rumped warblers, and 2 orange-crowned warblers.