Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Quest for the Amwell Bittern

24th February 2015

In previous hard winters up to four Bitterns have over-wintered at Amwell and have been quite showy from various vantage points around the reserve. This year, however, has been very mild and only one Bittern has been present and very elusive. In fact I think up to the Christmas break it was seen only once, and not until the last couple of weeks has been putting on a more regular performance on the Bittern Pool. So today, as there was nothing on the tele, I thought I would pop down and try my luck.

I arrived at the Bittern Pool watch-point at about 11.00am and settled in for what could be quite a long wait. However, as luck would have it, the Bittern appeared almost immediately in the right-most cutting in the reeds and proceeded to direct its head upwards. Luckily for once the sun was out and so everything on the photographic front was fine, but the very reason they sky-point is so that they are difficult to see and therefore not so conspicuous on the photo. However, mustn't grumble.

The bird then disappeared back into the reeds but could be seen occasionally making its way along the reed margin, only showing well when it appeared at the next cutting in the reeds. The next hour was spent watching it traverse the whole pond, just giving a few seconds of photographic activity as it crossed the opening.

Shame that it clouded over for the latter sequence of shots, but well worth the wait to photograph this enigmatic bird.

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