By Hillyblips

Bittern by the Bug

Bitterly cold, biting wind but....... bittern blip!!!

Day after day knowing it had been sighted from the Zeiss Hide at Slimbridge I was strangely bitten by the bug and kept going back hoping to just get a glimpse of this rare bird; I just had to see my first Bittern!

Rumour had it that a large wading bird had flown into the middle of the bullrushes this morning but as I stared out into the sharp wind that blew through the Hide I really didn't have much hope. Been there, done that! Armed with a flask of coffee just sitting with eyes glued to the reed-bed someone with strong binoculars spotted the bittern slowly walking along the edge of the waterline. News seemed to spread fast and on turning round the whole Hide was full of rows lenses and woolly hats.

200 years ago nesting bitterns were not uncommon but with the draining of the marshes they were pushed back into the fens and not until 1911 was breeding actually proved. Difficult to spot with their well camouflaged plumage they freeze with their neck and beak stretched vertically to mimic the reeds. They produce a 'booming' foghorn like sound and eat fish, frogs, water voles and beetles.

I have been grinning from ear to ear since lunchtime thinking how lucky I was even though I have been bitten by a cold bug too!

More bittern shots and there was also a very nice heron

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