Thursday, 1 October 2015


It was a beautiful day in Dumfries-shire,  cloudless, sunny and warm, and not a breath of wind. Imagine that on the last day of September in Scotland! I called in at Caerlaverock this morning on my way to yet more bat surveys this evening, in the hope that the barnacle geese would be back. I was surprised to find only a few hundred here, but the main influx of 20,000 can only be days away surely.

Pink - footed geese are here in good numbers, nearly 5000 on the reserve today, but star of the show was a bittern which has been seen from hides along the Avenue for the past few days. This was my first bittern in Scotland, in fact my first outside England. I've never seen them abroad. It was an excellent view feeding in shallow pools in front of the Camberley hide.

The bittern did a lot of creeping around in the rushes.

Barnacle geese.

Actually, I'd probably have swapped all of my photos of the bittern for a chance to get some decent photos of this heron, but it was much to far away to have any hope. Not only did it strike up this fantastic pose whilst sunning itself, it also hunted in a way quite unlike any grey heron I have seen before. It submerged it's whole body so that only its head was sticking out of the water. Surely it can't have been hunting fish in this way because being so far under water it wouldn't be able to move fast enough. I suspect it may have been hunting dragonflies, of which there were plenty about today. In fact the bittern was also seen to take a dragonfly.

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