Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Bitterns

At The Point this morning visibility was very poor in the the driving misty rain. Small numbers of Guillemots, Razorbills and Red-throated Divers were tooing and froing, a small movement of Kittiwakes east and the occasional Gannet ghosted in out of the mist disappearing just as quickly.  The 3W Glaucous Gull was in  a roost next to the concrete road.
From the south end of the New Diggings 8 red head Smew were sheltering under the western bank with the common wildfowl and 2 Great White Egrets were in the reeds nearby.
Another Great White Egret was at the south end of the ARC.
 As the ARC car park was empty I braved the weather on the walk to Hanson as recently a Bittern has been showing well in the reed bed to the left of the hide. I got my self settled in the hide and gently opened the shutter, immediately a movement caught my eye  about 30mts out, raising my binos a beautiful Bittern could just about be seen motionless and then a quick movement as it caught a Stickleback or similar. As I was unable to focus the camera through the reeds and the light was awful, I just sat and watched it as it caught several fish. After c20 minutes I was joined in the hide by a new birder who had never seen a Bittern, needless to say he was delighted. A few minutes later the bird stalked off out of sight the flew over to the screen hide.
 I was later joined by BH and CT who were also sheltering from the weather. A red head Smew flew in and swam into a small bay in the reed bed to the right of the hide, another movement caught my eye and the Smew shot out. A few minutes later another Bittern jumped out of the bay flew slowly in front the hide (to close for me focus quickly or even get the whole bird in) and landed c8 mts from the hide among the Bull Rushes, where it clambered and stalked around for at least an hour for the 3 of us to watch and enjoy it and take one two pictures.



 At Scotney apart from the large numbers of Wigeon there was little of note. On a very wind and rain swept   Walland c150 Bewick Swans still and a ring tail Hen Harrier. With rain still coming down I called it a day.

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