Puffed Bittern

October 21, 2013  •  2 Comments

American BitternAmerican BitternAn unusual siting at Botanica. I was there early one cloudy morning to photograph the gardens. I was the first one in the gardens that morning. Thought I would check the pond for water lilies. As I started in on the boardwalk, I looked over the side into a cluster of pickerel weed. I was startled by movement directly below only eight feet away. I immediately noticed it was an American Bittern puffed up in a defensive posture. The birds froze just long enough to get a few shots before sneaking off into cover.

I went over to Botanica last week to see what there might be to photograph. I had arrived early and the gardens were just opening. The cold temperatures must have been delaying visitors this morning. I had the whole place to myself, except for a few staff gardeners. The season for photographing flowers is near an end. A possible frost is in the weather forecast. I knew it was probably too late to find any water lily or lotus blooms but, it doesn't hurt to check. As I entered the pond area on the boardwalk, I looked over the edge into a cluster of pickerel weed. I was startled by sudden movement within eight feet of me. The source of the commotion was an American Bittern that had puffed up into a defensive posture at the sudden site of me.

 

I quickly pulled back enough to be out of the bird's sight while I fumbled with changing lenses. When I peered back over the the side of the boardwalk again, I was surprised to see the bittern had not sneaked off into cover. It was still frozen in that defensive posture. I got only a few shots before it slowly moved into the cattails. I have observed and photographed bitterns many times but, have never seen this puffed up posture before. The common view of a bittern is depicted in the photo below. The bird is more often seen frozen in a vertical stance as it tries to blend in with reeds or cattails.

 

I like surprises! What a memorable morning!

American Bittern 3American Bittern 3Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.


Comments

Thane Rogers Photography
Thank you, Colleen, I appreciate your friendship and comment.
Colleen(non-registered)
Thane,
You do such a great job of helping me see the world in new ways. I'm so thankful for your insight. God Bless and keep using the gifts He gave you!
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