Looks like the cold snap is ending, but not before some luck for 2009. With dreary weather and a head cold, I opted to stay local, and popped down to Upton Warren on Saturday, in the hope of seeing a water rail pottering about on the ice. However the sight from the concrete spider hide was desolate. Nothing in range of the camera, with all the main birds centred in the lake where some of the ice had melted. I was about to leave when something on the other side of the lake caught my attention. A bittern. Okay, so it was miles away, but worth a couple of record shots. With nowt much else around, and after hearing from someone in the West Hide that I'd missed a water rail on the ice, I trundled home. There's always Sunday...
So today, mid morning I arrived at the Moors, and opted to try my luck at the North Pool. It wasn't long before I spotted the gulls on the main lake, disturbed, but not in the blind panic like when a peregrine or sprawk attacks... no, this was more like they were after something. Then I spotted it; a bittern flying over the road and into the reed bed opposite. What luck!
After clambering about in the reeds, it decided to partake in some ice skating, periodically disappearing into the edge of the reeds. Must have been thirsty work, as it stopped every so often for a drink from melted areas at the foot of reeds. Needless to say, I didn't hold back on the photos, and filled a card very quickly. Problem is, as the bird plods along so slowly, you find that 3 out of every 4 pics look exactly the same.Eventually though, it decided to abandon its Robin Cousins impression, and head into the thick of the reeds, not to be seen (by me) again. A fellow birder managed to spook a different bittern as he took a ciggie break, but that one dropped into the middle of the reeds, and didn't appear at all.
I failed to get the target shot, but I think I've managed a slightly better substitute!