I revisited Colonel Sam Smith Park on Sunday for two reasons, (1) to get a better picture of the yellow-crowned night-heron and (2) to see if I could find the least bittern. While the heron did not make an appearance, a number of birders were present.
On a recent visit I had spotted this black-crowned night-heron in a pond.
A birder informed me he had previously seen a least bittern in the same pond months earlier.
Shortly after 8:00 a.m. on Sunday I found and took an over-exposed picture of the least bittern.
While taking a couple more pictures a birder I had met in May during the warbler fallout stopped by. He was thrilled. The least bittern had flown past him the previous day. We took a couple photographs and left.
Beyond thrilled that I finally photographed this hard to spot bird, I stumbled around Colonel Sam in a daze with the biggest Cheshire cat grin. Somehow, I sufficiently gathered my wits to take the following photographs:
About two hours later, I returned to the least bittern spot. The bird was present but so was the dark side of birding/bird photography. There were four individuals down at the water’s edge. While one went down and flushed the bird, the other advised where it landed. The bittern found shelter in the branches of a tree. There two photographers were directly underneath the bird, one with a macro or portrait lens. I took a couple pictures from the top of the path but I was upset about what I saw. The turn of events bothered me all day. I never want to see that again.