I began an experiment a few years ago with an attempt to isolate a bird from its surroundings. While I do prefer the environment (especially early morning golden light on the mangroves and their reflections), I imagined that seeing only the bird and its reflection in the water with a complete black surrounding would make it "pop" out and provide a unique and interesting image. This began after one morning spent with a great white egret that was successfully catching fish along Biscayne Bay while the ripples in the wind-disturbed water reflected the blue sky, as seen below.
Consequently, when on Biscayne Bay, I would look for those opportunities that would make a "bird alone" image possible. This, of course, works best with white birds as I expose for the white feathers. causing most of the surroundings to darken. Darker birds are more difficult to work with as naturally the surroundings will be lighter upon exposure, making it more difficult to get rid of them during post-processing. But, with additional patience, it worked! I even managed to keep the water drops coming from the worm in the bird's mouth in the photo below.
Water disturbed by the bird's motion is yet another element I attempt to isolate from the surroundings. Because of the light reflection, this makes the isolation from the undisturbed water easy.
If you like the effect of these, go back to some old images you might have of a wading bird and see what you can do with it. The key is to maintain the naturalness and avoid a cut-out look. And it doesn't always have to be black!