Personal musings, wanderings and sightings from around the lake.
A little history, and about the lake, at the bottom of the page.


Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Chasing the Bittern

Not literally, but he certainly gave me the run around.

A dull, cloudy start to the morning, quite windy, and a definite chill to it.
I topped up the bridge with seed, and made my way round the north lake. I’d only planned to make it a quick visit.

I quickly fed one of the Crows, who had been following me, and suddenly he took to the air. A Sparrowhawk had dared to fly overhead. Mr. Crow was having none of that, and proceeded to show him the quickest exit from the lake.

As I passed the bandstand, and walked alongside the reed bed, I noticed a lot had been flattened, and squashed down. I put thoughts of a Bittern being responsible, out of my head; they’re not that heavy surely?
Maybe not, but I suddenly came face to face with one. We both stared, both startled by each other. At this point a good photographer would have rattled off a few frames.
I managed a couple of blurry, out of focus shots, as he took off, and made his way further down the reed bed.

Maybe I should sit in a hide, and get my Bittern pictures that way. Not as much fun though.

Undeterred, I mad my way back to near where he had settled. A few Black-headed Gulls had seen him take off, and were intent on giving him a hard time. pretty soon he was up again, moving further down the reed bed.

Yea, I missed him again.

At this point I decided he was getting enough grief from the gulls, without me stalking him with a camera, so I decided to leave him in peace.
As I began to leave, a Water Rail scurried over the last remnants of ice, to the safety of the reeds. 
Another missed opportunity.

I carried on round the north lake, stopping to admire a female Goosander. Too dull to even think of pictures, so on I went.
At the top end, by the weir, another female Goosander, swimming around with the Coots, and Wigeon.

I made my way back to the car park, and as I crossed the road bridge, five Crows were escorting a Buzzard away from the lake.

Back at the car park bridge, more seed left for the birds, and a couple of pictures.


 Great Tit

For a quick visit, it turned out to be a good one. Some great birds seen; even if not captured by the camera.

No video today. 

Full list of today’s sightings

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Gadwall [sp] (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Goosander (Mergus merganser merganser)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Great Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
British Dunnock (Prunella modularis occidentalis)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
British Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos clarkei)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
British Great Tit (Parus major newtoni)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Eurasian Jackdaw [sp] (Corvus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
British Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs gengleri)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Total species  37


  1. The Bittern is up there with the best of my bird shots. The last two are grand though.

  2. The best pictures are the ones that got away right? This happens to me on a daily basis...but that is the drive that keeps all of us trying to get that awesome Photo that knocks everyones socks off or just to secretly keep it tucked away so we can admire it and keep it all to ourselves. I see the most wonderful stuff when I dont have my camera with me, maybe the camera is why Im not seeing as much as I desire to see? Either way the photos you did get are marvelous and I know when you least expect it,,,,,you will get a fantastic shot of that bittern!

  3. Hi Keith...better luck next time...and maybe you will have a better reaction.. lol
    Good for you that you did enjoy your walk this morning!
    Hugs my friend!!

  4. Sounds like you had an eventful morning Keith.

    Sometimes I find it`s just better to stand and watch and forget all about the photography.

    I was driving past the lake this lunchtime so stopped off for five minutes and topped up the seed on the bridge. Looking back from the car park I counted 11 Chaffinches either feeding or waiting their turn in the branches!

  5. Adrian, you are too kind lol

    Thanks Dixxe. I get so many 'nearly' shots, and then occasionally a good one comes along. The Bittern is on my list to get a 'good one', along with the Kingfisher. One day........

    Thanks grammie. Yea, a great morning, despite the lack of good pictures.

    Trevor, it was worth going out for :)
    Thanks for doing the seed. They ain't half getting through it. It's a real magnet for Chaffinch and Greenfinch at the moment.

  6. Bitterns are fantastic whatever the circumstances, and worth savouring every second. The gulls obviously tar them with the same brush as Herons, though I can't imagine that they're as much of a threat.

    It looks like your feeding station has upgraded itself to the next level, now that it's on a Sparrowhawk route!

    It's great that your walk takes in so many different habitats and reveals so many species. A special place, indeed.

  7. Thanks Graeme. The three brief moments I saw of it were really special, and like you say, I can't understand why the gulls think of them as a threat. Maybe because they're big?
    The little bridge has proved a real hit with the birds.

  8. You will get him one day soon Keith. Law of averages.