Monday 8 June 2009

Little Bittern

Yesterday Bun and I went to Walton Heath on The Somerset Levels hoping to see the Little Bittern. Unfortunately we didn't leave Seaton as early as we usually do and when we arrived the bird hadn't been seen for over an hour after having been showing well all morning. It was almost another five hours until we saw it. Still, in the meantime we enjoyed superb views of at least two Bitterns, several Hobbies, and two Black Terns. Later on in the day, after seeing the Little Bittern for the first time we also had great views of a lovely Barn Owl, which was a rather unexpected bonus. After about four hours the majority of birders realised that we were watching in the wrong spot because apparently the Little Bittern could be heard singing on another part of the reserve. Once at the revised site we soon heard the birds unusual 'song', it sounded a bit like a dog with laryngitis! We were eventually treated to a fabulous flight view as it crossed almost directly overhead. We had several more flight views too and also a good if brief perched view or two. A really wacky little bird, certainly well worth the five hour wait during which I became so hungry I was in danger of fainting and I resorted to eating hawthorn leaves!! This tided me over until I could get to the car where I had a bag of grapes :-( - I really should have took some packed lunch! Unfortunately I couldn't get any photos as the views were rather brief and I was too busy enjoying them anyway. Steve (who arrived later as we were leaving) got some more prolonged views and got some photos too, which may be on his blog soon, possibly? Here's a photo showing the type of view we enjoyed for the vast majority of the seven hours we were there:

It's in there somewhere

A few of the happy faces after the 4;50 flight view.

I decided to record the birds 'song' for posterity by taking a bit of video footage. A while after I started recording, a man standing next to me said in a load voice "That's a good idea, getting the call on video!" and proceeded to noisily unzip several compartments of his camera bag. How thoughtful! Anyway here's the finished article. If you turn the sound up high you can hear the 'weeroofing' of the bird- just about . Try to ignore the talking and' zip action', if you can.

I really don't like to blog about a stunning rare bird without having at least some sort of effort at a photo to show you. To remedy this I've decided to put on this uncannily accurate 'artist's impression' (the word artist is used in its loosest possible sense here!): I wonder why I don't keep a notebook!?

Little Bittern in flight at Walton Heath.
It looked EXACTLY like this!


Anonymous said...

That`s a very characteristic call. I just love your artistic impression of the bird, Karen. Hats off to you for posting that one.

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks Dean :-)

Now someone's said they like my artist's impression I may, possibly, be tempted to do a few more.... Let's hope I get something good to digiscope then shall we!?