Okefenokee Bittern: Hidden in Plain Sight

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, he blends in perfectly with the tall brown grasses that line the water’s edge. Again, perfectly hidden in plain sight.


iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/21510857

See other Okefenokee Birding journals at www.williamwisephoto.com.

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website www.williamwisephoto.com is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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