Posts Tagged ‘Bittern’

First trip of the year for Keith and I to the London Wetland Centre.

On arrival, we heard that a Bittern was showing well from Hedley Hide and so we went off in that direction. sadly it had retreated into the reeds by the time we arrived and it was a 60-minute wait until we saw one fly out from the reeds and head across to another section of reed-bed. We did have the pleasure of a Sparrowhawk keeping us company in a nearby tree during our wait.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Our next stop was the Peacock Tower and a search for the resident wintering Jack Snipe and Water Pipit. The latter proved no problem although as soon as I got onto the bird it took flight and disappear from view. Another wait followed before I spotted one on their usual island. We were able to watch it feeding in and out of the vegetation for about 15 minutes before it was lost from view. Then a few minutes later, it or another one, ran across the island. I guess something had spooked it, although we couldn’t see any other bird in the area. keith reacting quickly managed to get a photograph as it passed across his lens view.

Having seen the specialities, there was time to wrap up the commoner species on the reserve.

Tufted Duck (male and female)
Eurasian Robin
Grey Heron (one of last years young)
Northern Pintail (2 males)

On our way to see if there was a Grey Wagtail in the Otter enclosure (our usual place to find them as they feed in the fast running water) we heard that a Bittern was again showing from Hedley hide and so we diverted there and this time we were lucky and it was still in view when we arrived.

Eurasian Bittern

The light was now failing fast and so it was time to call an end to a great day.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull (Common) [group] (Larus canus canus/heinei)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Water Pipit [sp] (Anthus spinoletta)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Here are a couple of pictures of a Bittern taken at London Wetlands centre (6 miles from the City centre) a couple of weeks ago.

Gives an idea of how well camouflaged they are in the reeds.

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When I was younger it was very rare to see these birds. I remember traveling to see them in NW England at leighton Moss and then the excitement when they first re-appeared in the Lea valley in Essex. Now we have them in central/west London. A great story of species revival.

Bittern in Action

Posted: December 21, 2013 in Trains
Tags: ,

A brilliant video of Bittern in Steam

Video by Matti Ward on YouTube

Bittern was built in 1937. It spent most of its working life on the East Coast mainline, particularly hauling the ‘Flying Scotsman’ service between King’s Cross and Newcastle. In November 1963 it was transferred to haul the services between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and has the distinction of pulling the last steam service between Glasgow and Aberdeen. It was withdrawn from service in September 1966 and was based in York for use on railtours. Following engine problems, it was housed at the Dinting Railway Centre, the Stephenson Railway Museum in Newcastle and the Great Central Railway before being sent in 2000 for complete overhaul and restoration. Bittern was steamed again in May of 2007 and has since worked on railtour duty. During this time it has been rebranded as 4492 Dominion of New Zealand, but has been returned to original name and number for the Mallard 75 celebrations. On 29 June 2013, the locomotive set a British speed record for a preserved steam locomotive at 92.5 miles per hour.

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