I shall return for the bittern

A summer visitor has returned. A week ago, I rambled through Hong Kong Park pondering whether summer visitors would be attracted to this little paradise. Seeing nothing, I intended to leave. Suddenly, something amid the reeds caught my attention. As quickly as the bird gave away its hiding place, it was identified without delay. A yellow bittern! Unfortunately, there was no camera in my bag. It means that I should and I must return for the bittern.

I was there the next day, 7:00 a.m. Very quickly the bird was located. Stripes along its throat reinforce the camouflage brought by its pale colour. It blends into its favourite habitat, reed bed, very well. This time, the plants in the centre of the pond provided it a sense of security.

Commonly perceived as a secretive bird, this individual is certainly an exception. It frequently perched on prominent branches just above the water surface, waiting for the opportunity to seize any unattending preys.

It is indeed a small bird, especially when compared to tortoises nearby.

Great patience is exercised during foraging. The slow-moving bittern continuously administers inch-by-inch searches for any edible creatures. Its flexible yet powerful neck unfolds as a deadly weapon that precisely grasps the prey in a sudden. Dragonflies and fish are delicacies for the yellow bittern.

The park's ponds plays an important role for the birds' journey. They are oases in the highly developed parts of the city. Years ago, a yellow bittern and a black bittern made their appearance in Hong Kong Park. The ecological functions of the green patches scattered around the urban should never be underestimated.

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