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Least Bitterns

In the last few years I have become intrigued with our smallest member of the Heron family the "Least Bittern". I tried and tried to get good pictures of them but found it almost impossible because of their camouflage and secretive ways. So not to be outdone by these sly little birds I started to study their habits. I learned to recognize the sounds they make which helped in finding areas that they were most abundant in, I learned what part of the day they were most active and what areas of the marsh they preferred being in.I also learned how to better camouflage myself and how and when to approach these birds. I spent countless hours listening and trying to find them hiding in the reeds and cattails.I have to say I did get pretty good these last couple of years finding them in the marsh,but most of the time what I saw was just parts of their bodies in- between the cattails like the picture above. After awhile I was able to inch my way closer and closer to them. Finally today it all came together and I was able to get some shots of this female "Least Bittern" out in the open. I know it may sound like a lot of work just to get a picture of one but to me studying them and out smarting them is as much fun as getting the picture. I have a lot of people that ask me where I get some of my pictures and they think if I tell them that they will be able to walk out there and get the same pictures. Well it could happen because luck does play a role but these two pictures below were for me a couple years of work. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did taking them.

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Taken on June 23, 2012