Saturday, 25 October 2008

Once Bittern...

With the forecast for Saturday being half sunny (morning) and then rain later, I dragged myself out of bed, and opted to head to Upton Warren, as Kay & Max said they’d likely be there, searching for the Shore Lark.

Walking along the path to the hide, a green woodpecker zipped along the tops of the reeds, and off into the distance (like they always do!). As expected, Kay & Max were indeed in the hide, though after spending an hour searching, they’d decided that the lark was either having a lie in, or had gone.

I squeezed in on to the bench, and had a quick look, but to no avail, but we did manage to see the lesser spotted Fritz, who was out for the day, after having battled with public transport down to the reserve.

With Kay shivering, and no sign of the lark, we all decided it to head over to the Moors instead – perhaps the bittern would make an appearance! We weren’t disappointed – within minutes of getting into the West Hide, I managed to make out the bird amongst the reeds near the sluice gate, and apart from Kay, we all had a good view of it, as it crept along the channel.

Staring at the reeds for a while, Kay, Max and Fritz decided that they’d rather go over to the other side to see if they could spot the jack snipe reported recently, leaving me in the hide, hoping for a better, clearer view of the bittern.

If only they’d stayed for 10 more minutes. Out it came, and posed on some cut down reeds, for almost 5 minutes! I’ve never seen one out in the open before, and filled the card with shots of it! Super stuff! It mooched around, seemed to peck at something small and consume it, before flying back into the reeds.

Moments later, it launched out, and flew over to the other side, so everyone got a good view of it.

After wandering over to the East Hide to join the others, we all saw it again take flight, this time pursued by black-headed gulls, across to the car-park corner, where it dived into the reeds, and disappeared from view.

All the bittern images (including a couple with a water rail in the reeds behind it) are now on my gallery.


Jo said...

Great blog Pete and some nice shots there of the Bittern. Just goes to show patience sometimes does pay off. Keep up the good work!

Pete Walkden said...

Hi jo - patience and luck! Thanks for the kind words.