So who do I see come strolling out of the swamp yesterday but this American Bittern!? The bittern is not an extremely rare bird for us, but it is an uncommon and generally secretive bird. On the occasion I do get a glimpse of one, it is usually hidden back in the reeds where it blends it very well.
This one surprised me by coming out into the clear, offering an opportunity for a few photos. Once the bittern realized it was potentially spotted however, it stopped and went into it’s deceptive camouflage mode.
These birds will point their bills straight up making themselves as vertical as possible to blend in with the surrounding reeds and vegetation. Then they will rhythmically rock and sway back and forth to mimic the effect the breeze will have in slowly moving the nearby plants from side to side. This tactic, combined with the bittern’s natural coloration, often make it extremely difficult to see in the marshy areas it prefers to inhabit.