Yet another true winter’s weekend. I had already taken a morning off from work on Wednesday to take photographic advantage of the fresh snow that had fallen on Tuesday. The morning was so blisteringly cold that mist had formed over streams and fields and I even got to see some sunrise colors for a brief moment. I went out again on Friday but since it was to be a grey morning, I went to search for birds and mammals in the snow. It turned out to be a morning full of herons. First I found several Great Egrets hunting in open streams. Normally they are very skittish, but with the cold they become ‘just’ skittish. I had one that did not flea and instead continued fishing his way towards me, very nice. Before going home, I went to the fishing ponds to see if there was any open water left, that would possibly attract all kinds of waterbirds and swampbirds.
I never got there, because I suddenly saw a Bittern (Botaurus stellaris; Roerdomp) along a small stream. I spent the better part of two hours watching it perform its ‘reed act’ from the warmth of the car. At one time, I was temporarily distracted by 3 Roe Deer on the other side of the car, and when I turned my head back, it took me minutes to find the Bittern again, although it had not moved at all. Master of disguise! It never stood completely out in the open, but I like the photos I got anyway. They much better portray the secretive nature of this beautiful bird. I went back on Sunday but could not find it again, but chances are good that it was there in full hiding. I did see two Kingfishers at the only open pond in the area. Note to self: must go back with tenthide when (or if?) fresh snow falls.
Bittern at Work; Canon 5D Mark III w. 500/4L IS and 1.4x; 1/320s at F5.6 and ISO800; beanbag from car