I found this guy with a backward glance almost passing him by. As I tried to position myself focusing in-between the tall grasses, I scared up another one just ahead that was practically in the clear. Doh! The flight shot in the comments section is the one I flushed.
Although common in much of its range, the American Bittern is usually well-hidden in bogs, marshes and wet meadows. Usually solitary, it walks stealthily among cattails. If it senses that it has been seen, the American Bittern becomes motionless, with its bill pointed upward, causing it to blend into the reeds. It is most active at dusk. More often heard than seen, this bittern has a call that resembles a congested pump.
Like other members of the heron family, the American Bittern feeds in marshes and shallow ponds, dining on amphibians, fish, insects and reptiles.
Click on any photo to see larger!