Least Bittern

On my last trip to Florida, I had a chance to do some birding at Viera Wetlands, one of the birdiest sewage treatment plants around. We saw lots of great birds but I would have to say this cooperative Least Bittern was the highlight for me.

The Least Bittern is secretive by nature and seldom seen out in the open for extended periods of time. It acts a lot like a rail, though it is technically a heron.

This fellow seemed content to let us watch him hunt for minnows in the shallows of the wetlands. It was fascinating to observe this bird move across and over the water, stepping from stalk to stalk in the cattails and reeds.

As herons go, the Least Bittern is among the smallest in the world. You can reference the size of this bird pictured above with a Common Moorhen. Moorhens tend to be slightly smaller than the more common American Coot.
This bird sighting was one of those great, unexpected treasures that can happen any time you pick up your binoculars and head out for a morning of birding. The fact that these types of encounters are unpredictable and uncommon make them all the more memorable.

1 comment:

BLRem said...

What a great day you had...and awesome pictures to go with it! Just goes to show, we never know what adventures lie before us during any given moment. Nice to hear about such an unexpected encounter. Congrats!