Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Bittern at WWT Barnes.

So here is the scenario which I'm sure many of us have experienced. You enter a bird hide and one or more of the occupants says "There's a Bittern out here" (inwardly I think great ... that's one of the reasons why I came here today) and then one of two options ... either you are left to scan everywhere or you are given some sort of directions ... such as "It's in the reeds, over there on the right".

So above is the general view that greeted me out of a hide window at W.W.T. Barnes today and a similar greeting (as detailed above) from another visitor, who then waited a few moments before adding "Have you found it?". Well for anyone who knows what a Bittern looks like (it is  one of the ultimate camouflage species) you then scan the reed margins for a slightly darker shape that is usually absolutely stationary within the similarly coloured reed stems.

It didn't take me long to locate my quarry but the dull overcast conditions and distance were far from ideal for my set up but I'll share these 'record' shots (heavily cropped) just to show how difficult this species can be to locate for the inexperienced. 
One day I'll capture one out in the open on a nice sunny day ... lol!

Needless to say that when some other visitors joined me in the hide I was more than happy to provide them with far easier instructions in order to locate this winter visitor and one guy was overjoyed to get a close up view through my scope.
Of course there were plenty of other species on view including lots of Northern Lapwings plus a distant view of a single female 'red-headed' Smew.

Male Gadwall (Anas strepera)
For more information on this species, please CLICK here.

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata).

Well at least a couple of ducks came close enough for the lens before the dark clouds rolled in. The forecast doesn't look particularly promising for the next few days so I may have to revert to looking through some of last years images for the next post.   FAB.

Linking up to WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY.

47 comments:

  1. One up on me Frank. Bittern is still on my wish list.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have shared your Bittern frustration many times Frank (at Leighton Moss) so know exactly how you feel - one of these days indeed. Still, really nice compensation in the form of the Gadwall, not an easy species to see so well as your clear and precise picture suggests.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Phil. Coincidentally I saw my first Bittern at Leighton Moss many moons ago.

      Delete
  3. Hi Frank...Very nice photos..I like seeing "bit's of the Bitten" ; ), If it is like the one here they are great to see!!
    The Lapwing line up is cute, and great ones of the Gadwall,and the Northern Shoveler!!!!
    Hope all is fine!!
    Grace

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Grace. Yes, very similar to your US version and just as stealthy.

      Delete
  4. It's always a thrill seeing a Bittern isn't it Frank, even when almost invisible!!! Great to be able to share the experience too! I love it when that happens. Yes, a few blue sky days would be quite nice!!!! (slight understatement) (-:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jenny. I don't usually wish the days away but some dry, clear days would lift the spirit just now.

      Delete
  5. awesome sighting! i liked the row of lapwings facing you, too - like an avian challenge. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Teresa. There must have been 30+ Lapwing dotted about the various islands AND all facing in the same direction.

      Delete
  6. Still waiting to see a Bittern Frank.

    Some of these 'birders' certainly try our patience; and language.
    I can't be doing with most of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kieth. You'll have to trip southwards ... I'm sure they will be around the wetlands for some time. Fortunately most of the other visitors weren't 'hard-core' birders so I forgave them their lack of specific info!!

      Delete
  7. Well done Frank these can be a real challenge to find in the reeds, been lucky the last two times at Marazion as I caught two flying across the marsh. Nice Gadwall & shoveler shots.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wonderful sightings. I would being out with someone who knows what they are talking about, so that I could learn from their experienced eyes, but this is a wonderful way to learn too. One of the reasons I love blogging so much. Great photos Frank!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Denise. That's the fun of blogging ... you get to see and learn about many species you may never see.

      Delete
  9. I think those are fine shots -- at least you saw it and got a picture! And all the birds are great. I wish I lived near someplace with a blind like that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I had a chuckle at your initial scenario. Comments like that nearly made me give up birding until a friend told me - and demonstrated - the approving but non-committal noises she made in reply - and everyone just assumed she was as knowledgeable as they were!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mick. I agree that it can be disheartening but for an oldie like me 'it's water of a duck's back'!! I just do my own thing.

      Delete
  11. Great sighting of the Bittern, they blend in so well. And my other favorite is the Lapwings, they are cool birds. Great photos and post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much Eileen. I'll drop by very soon.

      Delete
  12. Frank, the gadwall and his beautiful layers of feathers so gorgeous. Carol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carol. One of my favourite winter ducks .. super patterns.

      Delete
  13. Nice sighting of the Bittern - he certainly is well-hidden. Beautiful shots of the ducks!

    ReplyDelete
  14. we see many bitterns here in the breeding season. One thing that is really funny is to watch a bittern that is in the open and it still thinks it's hiding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Red. I'm still waiting for that classic view right out in the open.

      Delete
  15. I can relate. Any of my heron sightings and photos are quite like your bittern shots. Love the lapwings lined up in a row!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen. Yeah, I've got plenty of hazy shots over the years but it's always fun trying to get a better one.

      Delete
  16. Great image series showing :) Hanne Bente

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nice post - Bittern can be hard to find to say the least - Saw my first at L. Moss as well - used to drop in on the way home from work! Like the three Lapwings all in a row.

    The view of the Ruddy Duck in the last post must be a bit of a rarity these days - are they not trying to get rid of them from the UK?

    Cheers and thanks for posting to WBW.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stewart. The Ruddy is now a rarity .. millions spent on eradication with some 2700 killed (Sept 2005 to June 2007) but obviously some have so far escaped the guns!

      Delete
  18. He does blend in well doesn't he? Excellent post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kerri ... definitely a top class hide and seek species.

      Delete
  19. Those Bittrens certainly are a difficult lot to capture, but hey Frank, I can see it, and you can tell that indeed it is a Bittren and I think it is wonderful that you had such a grand opportunity. Love the other shares too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mary. Patience is always required to search out this elusive species ... but it's fun to share the experience.

      Delete
  20. Great post Frank!! I ran after bitterns all summer. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The gadwall's feathers look like an Escher painting....the are mind boggling. Love how you found the bittern. It definitely has fine, fine camouflage. I really had to look to see it. genie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Genie. I love the Gadwall's feather patterns so was glad to get a reasonable image at long last.

      Delete
  22. I spent many hours last summer trying to locate a least bittern that was "out there." ;)) Hopefully I will be more successful this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EG CameraGirl. I hope you are successful in 2013. Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  23. Hi Frank,

    I completely sympathise with you and spotting those bitterns. They blend in with their habitat better than any other bird I know of. Good that you got some record shots too. The wetlands centre really is a fantastic place to see such rare birds with such an urban backdrop

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joe. I would also put Snipe up there as well. Yes, it's an excellent location all year round.

      Delete
  24. I spent this morning searching for Bitterns and came up empty! I'm jealous you were able to spot one! Good work!
    Lovely images.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Cheers Wally. My lucky day I guess!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Those Bitterns are really a cool bird. I've only gotten one decent photo of one. Nice post, Frank!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Well done Frank! The camouflage is amazing, I always struggle to see them In photos let alone in reality ;-) Love the Gadwall and Shoveler too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jan. I have to admit that I checked the camera viewer just to make sure the 'blob' was there on at least one of the shots .. lol!

      Delete

I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

If 'Word Verification' shows up then it's a Google glitch. Just ignore it and click 'publish' as usual.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails