Thursday, 10 January 2013

A Sunny Day - Bittern Time!!

The forecast was dull and cloudy all day so I had planned to spend the morning cutting up some trees that we had felled at the weekend. And I was not disappointed, as when I peered out of the curtains it was indeed dull and quite dark. However, by 10.00am, whilst the view out of the back was still cloudy, the front which faces west was wall-to-wall blue sky. This called for a change of plan.

In previous winters, Bitterns at Amwell have always enjoyed a spot of sunbathing and, although that has not been the pattern so far this winter, I was optimistic and set off with the trusty camera. When I arrived there was no sign of any Bitterns from the viewpoint so I decided to have a go at photographing the Siskins that had been reported by the footpath next to the James Hide.

By the time I got there the Siskins have moved from the lone tree on the river bank to Alders inside the wood by the hide, but luckily they continue to call albeit fairly quietly even when they are feeding. In these situations they are very difficult to photograph as they are often deep inside the tree, and even when they do venture to the outside there are often thin branches obscuring a clear view. However, I did eventually manage to get a few decent shots.

A quick look on the Bittern Pool proved fruitless so it was back to the viewpoint to scan the reed bed north of the White Hide. A number of cut-outs have been made in the reeds to provide better views of the Bitterns as they move stealthily along the reedy margins and it wasn't long before a Bittern did indeed break cover and cross one of the cuttings. Not exactly sun-bathing but it did provide several seconds for some shots to be rattled off.

The bittern disappeared once more into the reeds, but it wasn't long before it re-appeared at the next cutting. On this occasion it merely stuck its head out of the reeds before flying to the other side of the reed bed.

Job done!!

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