Sunday, 12 June 2016

The barking Little Bittern, Old Moor RSPB

I was lured to Old Moor RSPB this morning by the presence of a singing male little bittern. Expecting the Bittern hide to be packed, I made my way first to the "Bus stop", a view point over the reedbed from where I figured I might have more chance of seeing the bird. This proved a good move since within minutes somebody picked out the bird climbing to the top of a bush near the closed Reedbed hide. However after a minute or two it took off and flew right over the Bittern hide and landed out of view in the bushes behind.  A decent flight view of the bird.

I joined the assembled throng of birders on the path near to the place where the bird was last seen, but this low down viewing was not easy through the reeds and bushes. Over the next hour we could hear the bird singing at relatively close range but couldn't see it, until at last somebody picked it up as it again climbed to near the top of a bush. Now it was a really good view and we watched as it called for a few minutes before it again flew and was lost to sight. A really nice bird, and great to hear it as well as see it. It's song was nothing like a great bittern, it was more like croaking or barking call, repeated every couple of minutes. I'm not sure I've ever heard little bittern song before, perhaps in Europe I suppose but I don't remember hearing it.

This is the second year that a male little bittern has been present at  Old Moor, presumably the same individual. I saw the bird last year, but it was much more distant, and only in flight.

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