American Bittern

When I awakened to sunshine this morning, I decided today was the day to revisit Nisqually Refuge since I hadn’t been there in over two weeks.

Despite the calendar, spring was definitely in the air as I was greeted by multiple bird songs, one of them by this little bird, clearly demonstrating why it’s called a Song Sparrow:

As I walked along I felt like I’d been dropped into Disney’s Song of the South.

When I encountered this little American Bittern beside the trail, though, I wondered if I hadn’t really been dropped into the Twilight Zone as I watched it transform itself. When I first saw it, it was so squat and so short that I didn’t immediately recognize it as a Bittern.

It was apparently trying to scare me with it’s size, and, though it didn’t manage that, it did give me a bit of a shock when it suddenly became very tall as it moved away:

However, when I returned to the same spot nearly four hours later, it appeared perfectly normal, apparently pretending to be a small bunch of reeds:

I’m constantly amazed by my encounters with nature, even when it’s an encounter with an animal that I mistakenly assume that I’m familiar with.