"Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness. "
---Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sorry Rev, I have succumbed.
The temptation of the American Bittern was too much for my weak will.
Here he (she?) is warming up for the old "straight neck, be the reed" disappearing act. Being caught in the open did not please this bittern and it slowly, oh so slowly, crept off into the nearby winter browned reeds and rushes.
I would have named these birds "Patience".
If you have ever watched one hunting, you know why.
Slow and methodical ... that about sums it up.
If you compare the bittern's creep to a snowy egret's wiggling of feet as it spooks it's prey from clumps of weeds, or to a reddish egrets fluttery dance as it chases down killifish in the shallows, it seems pretty snail-ish.
When they are not creeping, but truly hiding, they go all vertical with beak straight up looking for all the world like the reeds they have chosen to hide among ... even gently swaying with the reeds if a breeze is about.
In fact, just about everything a bittern does seems geared to not being noticed. It always seems odd to me to see a master of camouflage working side by side with glaringly obvious white wading birds like ibis, or snowy egrets.
Like a guy who shows up for a bird watching hike in a ghillie suit while everyone else is wearing sweaters, khakis, and sneakers.
(In my defense, the brochure said we would be "stalking" ... oh well, ...live and learn)
I wonder, do the ibis snipe at the bittern behind it's beak?
"Hey, Snowy ... don't look now ... I SAID DON'T LOOK! Sheesh ... anyhow, don't look now but here comes Mr. Covert Action. Just play along and act like you don't see him."
Now, where have I heard that before?