Thursday, 2 August 2012

Boomerless Bitterns

What an amazing story. Bitterns have been seen at Titchwell this Spring and Summer but no booming males have been heard. It had therefore been assumed that they were not breeding. Not, that is, until recently when a female started feeding flights across the reed bed!! The nest is in the reed bed in front of the Fen Hide, and about the same distance from the public footpath out to the beach.

The female seems to do most of the fishing in the far side of the reed bed over by the east bank and then flies back to the nest, sometimes quite high in the sky with a couple of circuits over the nest before landing.

So why didn't the male boom? Well, according to my old mate Graham White "The male was probably booming elsewhere - possibly at Holme.  Males and females may select different areas depending on conditions, so the female's territory may not be in the males.  This happened last year at Fen Drayton - 2 boomers but the nests were at nearby Ouse Fen."

I spent several hours watching the area, waiting for the bird to return for some shots, but without any outstanding success. However, the results are an example of what can be achieved and are reproduced here.

I missed the best opportunity when the bird flew in low so I only picked it up at the last moment. If I had seen it just a half second earlier I would had a good shot before it plunged into the reeds.

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