Saturday, 16 February 2013
A Tale of 2 Bitterns
To paraphrase Dickens, it was a tale of 2 Bitterns today. Early morning, I walked up the hill to overlook the large lake by the water treatment works at Lound, I looked in at one look out point and couldn't see anything, so carried on and saw Ricky F overlooking the lake at the back. I was glad Ricky was watching the Bittern and he kindly pointed it out to me. It was initially difficult to see as it crouched in the reeds along the far bank opposite. It was really good to see this excellent Bittern, my first for Lizard land. The nearest one I'd seen previously was one along a dyke bordering the north end of Bure Park at Great Yarmouth and I had heard one booming years ago in the 1980's at Fisher Row/ Carlton Marshes. It was great to spend some time seeing this Bittern hunting, as it spent time motionless or stealthily moving forward, often with its neck outstretched very low over the water and I could even see its beady eye looking for any movement in the water, on a couple of occasions it caught small fish. As we watched the Bittern, I observed a dark brown stripe on the head and neck. It suddenly burst into activity running back past and up the bank into some bushes before eventually walking down to the reeds before it flew a little way right. Meanwhile, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew to a close tree. Walking back, we saw a rattling Mistle Thrush fly up to a distant tree and a singing Song Thrush atop another tree bordering an arable field. In the afternoon, looking from the causeway, seeing maurice B. after half an hour revealed no Bitterns (one had been perched atop reeds minutes earlier!) although there were 2 Barnacle Geese amongst the Greylags and an incredible 62 Common Gulls (including 5 immatures) amongst a flock of BH Gulls. Eventually by the distant reeds, I saw a reed swing back suddenly, and we saw a second Bittern of the day fly over the scrub towards us and right over the causeway and indeed right our heads (an aewsome sight!) as it flew west.