Least Bittern Gymnastics

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Least Bitterns are small and often secretive birds. They nest in Central Florida during the summertime, often hiding deep in the reeds. One of the most reliable places I know to find Least Bittern is at the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. The bitterns like to perch on the dead snags on the edges of the drive. Recently I biked out to their favorite hangouts to photograph their antics while hunting for breakfast. I think they know it’s an Olympic year, as they were definitely practicing their gymnastics!

This bird was practicing his endurance on the parallel bars as he watched for fish below him…

Least Bittern
Least Bittern

This bittern was either saluting the judges or getting ready to do a floor exercise tumbling pass. Or maybe he was just jumping to another dead snag. The birds often change snags after getting a fish.

Least Bittern
Least Bittern

This bird shook himself off after eating a fish. Or maybe this is the birdie version of the “not impressed” face.

Least Bittern
Least Bittern

It’s very important to stick your landings. If you overshoot, you go past the snag and scare off all the fish!

Least Bittern
Least Bittern

This bird got the gold metal for having the longest, most elastic neck. It’s really quite fascinating to watch these tiny birds maintain their balance as they extend their long necks and pluck fish from the water.

Least Bittern
Least Bittern

I don’t think this guy liked his score. Or the approaching Common Gallinule, who apparently invaded his personal bubble. Time to file a complaint with the judges!

Least Bittern
Least Bittern

Want to learn more about nature photography at Lake Apopka?

Check out my Lake Apopka page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!

Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!

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