Friday, October 11, 2013

What Am I?

While exploring Cape May Point State Park a couple of weeks ago, I came on this bird sitting in a tree over the water.  It is one that I see from time to time, but never frequently, and not for a few years now.  This is the best look I have ever had at this usually very secretive bird, and I watched him for a good 15 minutes.  Put on your thinking cap, as this may not be an easy one.  The first time I saw one, it was hiding in a marsh up in Maine, making this incredible call.  I kept watching until I found it so I could figure out what the bird was that had such an unusual call.

In wetlands damp I'm always found
It's for my call that I'm renowned

My pattern's brownish and white streaks;
I have a sharp and spear-like beak

And with that beak I'll try to spear
Whatever creatures come too near

Be they frog, mouse, or yummy fish
To catch dinner is my fond wish

My color pattern helps me hide
Tall reeds is where I'm often spied

And so, how are you thus far fairin'?
You guess that I'm a stocky heron?

Now how can I describe my call
Which if you hear it should enthrall?

"Oong-ka-choonk" with pumping sound
Which loudly booms o'er marsh and ground

Not easy, is it?
Well, I threw
a lot of
facts in the
verse above
If you ever
heard one of
these stocky
herons then
you will get
this one.
for the answer
and photos

Within your brain did the facts churn
To guess American bittern?

I've never before seen this bird when it wasn't hiding.  This one was just sitting up in a lovely flowering tree over the water, maybe catching the morning rays.  I really enjoyed that my day and his intersected for a little while.

I've only heard a bittern a few times.  I used to see them in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge from time to time, and they were always very secretive.

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