An American Bittern

Having been told last week that early morning was the best time to get pictures at The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, I got up about 6:00 a.m. Friday morning and left the house by 6:30 for the half hour drive.

While I’m not entirely convinced that the picture taking was actually any better at that hour, I did get some very different pictures this week than I did last week. Of course, part of the reason was I didn’t focus as much on the Great Blue Herons, even though they seem to be featured at the refuge this time of year. Simply put, they’re everywhere and they make great subjects for photographs because, unlike most other birds, they stand still for great lengths of time.

Ironically, even though I was in too much of a rush to get out of the house to bother with showers, etc., all of the early birds I took picures of seemed to be more concerned with preening themselves than getting to work on time or earning a good meal.

This picture of ducks and Canadian geese preening captures both the overall darkness and the low angle of a sun just above the horizon:

Considering that the American Bittern is rarely seen, I guess my prize photograph of the day would have to be this one:

where the bittern strikes a typical pose, quite convincingly pretending to be just another part of the reeds. Truthfully, if it hadn’t been for volunteer refuge worker who told me about it, I doubt I would have ever seen it.