Bloomin’ Bitterns

Emphatically not a bittern, a black-headed gull in fact.

Every week this month there has been a ‘Wednesday Walkabout’ in the evening at Leighton Moss – a guided walk with the advertised intention of hearing bitterns booming. This year only one bittern has been heard at Leighton Moss and that only intermittently and not recently. For various reasons the first Wednesday Walkabout I managed to make was this week, the last one, and not surprisingly we didn’t hear any booming. I seems that I’m a bit of a jinx where bitterns are concerned. In January I twice went on the equivalent guided walks hoping to see a bittern, but didn’t. I’ve lived in this area for nearly twenty years and I’ve never seen a bittern (although I have heard them booming).

Never mind, the light was fabulous and there were plenty of other birds to see and hear. We listened to reed and sedge warblers, which I wouldn’t have been able to pick out on my own. We had good views of a couple of marsh harriers. We saw a reed bunting perched high in a distant tree, a first for me. On the meres there were pochard and tufted duck, swans and coots. There were also some great crested grebes, one of which had a chick riding on its back. I tried using the digital zoom on my camera again.

Maybe a tripod is necessary!

We saw tracks on the narrow paths through the reeds which the red deer make (of which more in a later post). We saw otter spraint near a bridge over one of the streams. 

Later, looking over my photos of the evening, I was alarmed by some photos of the view from the public hide which showed so many small blurred dots in the sky that I thought that the lens must be dirty. Eventually, I realised that in fact the dots were actually the swifts hurtling and screaming their way around the sky.

Bloomin’ Bitterns

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