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American Bittern

bittern1

Dear Friends, this secretive bird is an American Bittern and on rare occasions he peeks out of the cat tails to seek food.  til Tomorrow MJ

Another Bittern

bittern 2Friends, this bittern is trying to hide in the cattails and sedges in Crex Meadows but the water background is betraying him, when a threat is near, he will stand with his beak raised like this so the stripes down his long neck appear like a pile of rushes, sometimes if the wind is blowing he will wave back and forth to more closely resemble his grassy background, these birds are intriguing and soon when they nest, you will not find them easily, below is a higher magnification of his head,  til Tomorrow MJ

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Spring Bittern

bitter3Friends, this bird is an American Bittern and with his vertical striping in front is very well camouflaged against all the winter reeds.  They fish in the shallows like a heron, with neck stretched out and stabbing prey with that very big bill.  In the very early spring you may see a few of these birds, but later you may only hear their distinctive call. They are very secretive and the research community has not studied these birds to reveal their natural history, hmmm, a plan in the works, til Tomorrow MJ

Weekly Photo Challenge:Unique

American Bittern-spring male

Friends, This bird is not unique to the Crex area, but the male in breeding plumage is unique as it is the only time I have seen the American Bittern male in his full regalia.  The white epaulets and the feathery fringe under his chin are decorations that  persist for only a short period in the spring.  I think the gray mane feathers are also part of this costume.  til Tomorrow MJ

Another Bittern

Friends, this is how i most often see the American bittern, stalking thru the ponds hunting for food, the black stripe from the corner of his mouth and extending down his neck is a distinguishing characteristic of this stocky heron.  He looks stocky in this image, but when alarmed or when hunting, he stretches his neck vertically and with the striping on his neck, he thinks that he blends in with the vertical sedges and cattails in the marsh. In the image below you can see the striping on his neck. til Tomorrow MJ

Bittern on the wing

Friends, I was practicing my flight shooting on some Great egrets that are migrating thru Crex, when this American Bittern flew down the path that i had been shooting, actually a pair of bitterns flew over, what a thrill, i have photographed these birds fishing for food and generally stalking the marshes, but never saw them fly, what awaits me tomorrow in the marshes of Crex? til Tomorrow MJ

 

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