Okefenokee Bittern: Hidden in Plain Sight

Okefenokee Photography by William Wise

American Bittern Okefenokee Swamp American Bittern; Okefenokee Swamp Georgia. March 13, 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

My daughter and I were only ten minutes into a four-day canoe trip through the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia and already we had missed something! As we were paddling up the channel to Billy’s Lake from the Stephen C. Foster State Park boat ramp, we pulled to the side to let a tourist-laden pontoon boat pass by. As they went by, the naturalist on board pointed out an American Bittern camouflaged in the marsh grasses. We had paddled right past it, hidden in plain sight!

But we can’t be blamed. Even one prominent ornithology website says, “You’ll need sharp eyes to catch sight of an American Bittern. This streaky, brown and buff heron can materialize among the reeds, and disappear as quickly, especially when striking a concealment pose with neck stretched and bill pointed skyward.” With his bill pointed upward…

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