After almost 15 fruitless attempts, I have finally photographed a local American Bittern that has been causing me grief. Time after time, I have gone to “the spot” without a trace of this bird, and time after time countless birders have reported seeing it, sometimes only an hour before or after my attempt. But I am happy to say that this ghost bird does indeed exist!
While not a rare species by any means, the bittern tends to be a secretive bird, often staying hidden within tall grasses and reeds. A few months ago, local birders began reporting seeing a bittern at Shoreline park in Mountain View, CA. I was excited about this opportunity, as I had never seen a bittern before and this location is relatively close to home. I soon found myself obsessed with finding this bird, half convinced that it would watch me approach in then dive into the bushes just to spite me.
Finally, yesterday, I succeeded in finding it after all those tries. I’m sure it felt more satisfying due to the difficulty – if I had found it the first time, I probably wouldn’t have been nearly as excited!