Last year I was reading eBird, where birders submit checklists of birds seen, and I saw an American bittern was in a nearby wetland. Unfortunately I never did observe the American bittern last year. It can be a difficult bird to find as it stands in marshy reeds. Its back is a brown color and its front has stripes, so always meshing in to look like reeds! None of my trips proved successful.
Recently, I went to the wetland and did ask birders if they had seen the American bittern as they walked the trail. Fortunately one did and gave me an approximation of where to find the bird. It was a challenge to see the bird with its back to me!
I spent 30 minutes observing the bird. It did finally turn around. It spent time looking into the water in front of it and then into the reeds nearby. I kept hoping it would pounce on whatever was drawing its attention, but it never did! After 30 minutes I moved on, but I hope my next visit I can see it again.
Here are the photos taken during my 30 minutes with this American bittern: