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.
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.