Bird Watcher's Digest Magazine
Marsh birding is tough. The only sensible time to do it is at night, when the birds are most activeand the mosquitoes are at their bloodthirsty worst. Oddly enough, it's dark at night, and thus the only way to detect most marsh birds is by their vocalizations, which tend to be ventriloquial and uttered at low volume, making them more or less impossible to pinpoint. Even if a bird steps out ever so briefly from its cattail fastnesses, a not-so-clever searcher with a high-powered flashlight will find it difficult to use binoculars, and is likely to wind up head over heels in the stinky muck. And then the crazy birds start to laugh at you.
Above the chirping of the frogs and the buzzing of the insects, suddenly a new sound risesa high-pitched, silvery giggle running rapidly down the scale: tee Hee heeheeheehee. If we stop teetering atop the slick mud, hold our breath, and strain our ears, we may hear another call, similar in its bright quality but sharper and ascending, with a whiplike accent on the second syllable: so-REE, so-REE. Then we hear that insane laugh again, as if the bird were holding its sides and shaking in amused delight at the featherless bipeds invading its swampy home.