Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bitten by Bittern fever

These rather secretive wading birds are quite fascinating if you get a chance to spot one. Of late, I've gotten the bittern fever. Bitterns are sub-group from the heron family and they tend to be shorter-necked but don't be fooled. They usually frequent reed beds and marshy areas to hunt for amphibians, reptiles, insects, and fish.
In Singapore, we have the Yellow Bittern, which is small and not easily spotted. When spotted these extremely shy birds will take off and often with a call of protest.They are also highly territorial and sometimes the best way to spot a bittern is when they have a squabble over territory.
I tend to look out for these birds as they are great subjects to photograph. Below is the classic Yellow Bittern position among reeds as it waits for its prey to approach.
Sometimes, you may even find them walking on water.
Recently, the arrival of an uncommon winter visitor - a Black Bittern caused quite a stir.
The bird is rare here and it was lame. Much to the delight of many bird enthusiasts it chose a rather open area to winter at. Because of the location It picked, it also has a number of guardians who constantly worry about its well being. Many worry that the bird is hurt and unable to hunt. However, through the weeks many have come to realize that it is able to fend for itself and the best thing to do for the bird is to leave it alone and let its body heal itself.
It hunts well albeit rather clumsily at times. Tell me if you think that bitterns have short necks. Here are both species stretching their necks

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