Reluctant Pairing – Least Bitterns

Equipment Info
NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D850
ISO 125
Nearest Area
Gilbert Riparian Preserve
Town
Gilbert
Description
The female Least Bittern (right) had been trying to fend of two amorous males for days while she was waiting for her mate of the last two years. This male's persistence paid off and this female finally accepted this male's overtures. They courted for about 5 days, built their nest and began incubating. One week into incubating our female's original mate returned and won her back once this pair fledged their 3 nestlings. This image is the result of 3+ years of extreme patience. I have spent thousands of hours observing this species and while they are somewhat tolerant of human presence they are typically solitary, secretive and nearly all of their courting activity occurs in the reeds and well out of view. Seldom do you see Least Bittern adults in close proximity and out in the open together. This female stayed in the reeds while the male called and displayed. Several times she tried to chase him off, and this image is of her finally getting a little curious about her new suitor so she ventured out to check him out.
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Date Added
August 5, 2019
Date Taken
April 13, 2019