Least Bittern – Wakodahatchee, Florida: Another reclusive species that can be seen and photographed at Wakodahatchee is the Least Bittern. Least Bitterns are commonly seen in April and May along the elevated boardwalk. This bittern was photographed in April during the breeding season when bitterns are most active. At wakodahatchee, bitterns build nest in reed beds and clumps of Alligator weeds. This bittern was climbing through reeds when I first noticed it. When I stopped to set-up the camera and tripod the bittern froze in place, a common defensive practice of bitterns. Perching on a reed stalk, the stripped breast and tawny colors of the bittern helps it blend into the background, which makes it more difficult for a predator (the photographer in this case) to see.
Notice how the eyes of the bittern are facing forward. Forward facing eyes gives the Least Bittern binocular vision and exceptional depth perception which is essential for catching fish and frogs.
Nikon F5, 500mm f4, Gitzo Tripod, Monoball head