Tuesday, April 12, 2016

An Off-Beat Heron Make an Appearance

I checked out a nice extensive wetland across from Carolina Place Mall in Pineville last week in hopes of catching a glimpse of an American bittern that had been reported from that location. It took some diligent scanning and some patience but eventually I was able to enjoy the bird.

Bitterns are large herons that pass through our area during the migrations. unlike the familiar and conspicuous great blue herons and great egrets that occur in our wetlands, American bitterns are more of a challenge to find.They are extremely well camouflaged with brown, cream, and black streaked plumage that hides them perfectly in thick marsh vegetation. they don't stand tall either, preferring to spend their time hunches down and skulking through the tall marsh grasses.

As an added hiding trick, the bitterns will point their bill straight up into the air to look like a marsh reed and will even sway back and forth to mimic vegetation moving in the breeze.

So I am always glad to see one of these off-beat herons whenever I get the chance. in the photos below you can see how they could be difficult to spot.

American Bittern by Phil Fowler

American Bittern by Phil Fowler