Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bittern at Barnes.


It was a chilly but clear morning on Sunday when I joined a Surrey Bird Club field-trip to the London Wetland Centre at Barnes. Some of the shallower parts of the extensive pools showed how cold it had been overnight with a thin layer of ice enabling this Coot to 'walk on the water'.

There were a number of species on our wish list and it wasn't long before the star attraction, a [Eurasian]  Bittern, (Botaurus stellaris) was located on the edge of a distant reed bed.

Typical of this well camouflaged species it stood stock still for many minutes before adopting its upright pose to scan the vicinity for a possible meal before disappearing into the reeds.






Other species logged included Lapwing, Mallard, Teal, Pochard, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Cormorant, Little Grebe, Northern Shoveler, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Canada, Greylag and Egyptian  Geese, Gulls (Herring, Black-headed, Common and Lesser Black-backed), Grey Heron, Robin, Stonechat, Tits (Blue, Great and Long-tailed), Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Ring-necked Parakeet, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Blackbird.




Whilst high up in the Peacock Hide I watched a male Sparrowhawk dashing low over the marsh scattering the wildfowl, Pigeons and Starlings before coming to rest in a tree close by but getting a clear shot through the foliage was near impossible.

On returning to the WWT Hide with one of my colleagues we were both fortunate to get another view of the Bittern that had reappeared in almost the same spot.

After walking up through the reeds it eventually decided to fly off to another distant reed bed. 
For many of my fellow birders this was probably the best ever views they had experienced of this elusive species and I'm pleased to have got a few record images to share for this weeks edition of Wild Bird Wednesday.  FAB.

19 comments:

  1. Well done Frank, a Bittern, you could have gone home after that as you wouldn't have bettered it.

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    1. Cheers Roy. Jack Snipe was also supposed to be on the menu but to my knowledge didn't make a clear appearance!

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  2. This star showed well for you Frank, your wishes came true, and gave almost perfect views.
    Days don't get better than that?...[;o)

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    Replies
    1. Cheers Trevor ... just a pity it wasn't 200 yards closer!!

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  3. Great sighting and photos of the Bittern. That would make a very special day!

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  4. congrats on the bittern! have never seen one in person! and coots are just cute. :)

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  5. Great shots of the Bittern and well timed given the news that there are now more booming Bitterns in the UK than at any other time in living memory. Long may their recovery continue.

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  6. Fantastic Bittern shots Frank. Still just a dream for me.

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  7. Love the Bittern, cool captures and great birds. Enjoy your week!

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  8. Love the Bittern and wow what an array of different birds you see on your walks. Amazing.

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  9. What a great outing you had, and a nice variety of birds. Loved seeing that Bittern!

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  10. Now thats what I call a good day Frank.

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  11. Fantastic to have spotted this Bittern and then to get these shots of it.

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  12. The bittern is so fascinating! And I love the sparrowhawk too.

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  13. Congratulations on the great captures of the Bittern, Frank!

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  14. You got some great images of the Bittern Frank as well as the other shares~

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  15. Great shots of an elusive bird Frank.

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