It's easy to say that American Bitterns are a difficult species to find, let alone photograph. I am lucky, I know of a pair close by. I expect to see them every spring and hope for that "great" photograph. I check on them every chance I get, hoping they don't move to a more private pond, as they always do every spring. The race is on with every moment I catch a glimpse, wondering if this is the last day I might see them. The pictures below are over several days, and the different areas they cover around the closest pond at the prairie.
On this day, I sat directly across from one on the complete opposite side. I didn't see him for hours, but I sat and sat, scanning the edges, and as you see if you look closely, he is there. Enlarge for better view. The car in the background is mine in the parking lot about a quarter(ish) of a mile away. (I used 600mm lens for all shots)
This photo is in the same area, but just north of the last. He was not as easy to see as it looks. I passed by him and then did another pass and spotted him. He is about 100 yards away.
This is his mate. She (I don't really know which is which!) was just east of him, and again, I didn't see her until after the photoshoot of him was over. She looks so obvious! She wasn't!
On this day, I was at my original spot, on a bench across the pond. I had been there for hours again. A couple of people were making there way in my direction, so I thought I should check the shores before they spook it if indeed it was close. I scan to my right, nothing, I scan to my left...There he was just 30 yards away. I passed right by him, within a few short feet. I stopped the people from approaching any closer, set up my tripod, and took some shots. The people decided to turn around, (Thank You!) and I continued to approach ever so closely. I gained about 15 feet, shot a few more and this is the result. He was backlit, and getting on the other side would be a miracle, but I tried. It took forever to move, because I would only move when he put his head down below the grasses. As I rounded the corner, I saw him running low, all hunched over, waddling his way thru his escape route. Oh well, I crave to shoot another day...