Posts Tagged ‘Eurasian Bittern’

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.

Keith and I Spent the day at the London Wetland Centre. It’s always fun to think about what you like to see when you visit a particular place. I mentioned in the post yesterday that I would quite like to see Ring Ouzel, although I will declare immediately that I wasn’t successful but given the day we had I am not complaining.

On our arrival, we decided that the best vantage point was likely to be the Peacock Tower and so we made our way straight there. Having had a quick look round we focused on the Islands where the Jack Snipe normally winter. All was quiet then suddenly a flurry of activity as out of the vegetation came a number of Common Snipe and then a Jack Snipe. It fed a while in the pool before disappearing into the vegetation. It appeared again for about 5 minutes before finally being seen making its way deep into the undergrowth.

Common Snipe

 

Jack Snipe

We decided to make our way back to the centre and on the way check the hides which look across to the northern reed bed, where 2 Eurasian Bittern had been seen the previous day. No sign but as we approached the centre, a fellow birder told us one was showing in the inlet alongside Headley hide (not visible from south shore) so we passed on our lunch break and headed for Headley arriving to be told that it had retreated into the reeds 10 minutes earlier. Still, we decided to wait and see if it returned and 40 minutes later we were rewarded with excellent views about 20 metres from the hide windows (It was so close that we didn’t dare open any of the closed windows for fear of spooking it).

As we were watching the Bittern, someone shouted ‘Short-Eared Owl’ and the bird flew into the reed-bed and perched on a post, before dropping into the reeds. This is a rare species for central London, being more associated with moorland. This is the third record at Wetland Centre in the past couple of weeks, making us wonder if its the same bird and whether it plans to spend the winter here.

After the Bittern and the Short-Eared Owl had departed into the reeds, we made our way back to the Tower in the hope of catching up with one of the Water Pipits which has been around the reserve in the past few weeks, but although Keith heard a pipit, we never located it and so could not confirm if it was a Water Pipit or a Meadow Pipit.

Speckled Wood

Grey Heron

 

Eurasian Wigeon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The light was fading and it was time to make our way back to the centre. A great days birding!

 

 

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)
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)
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)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ‘feral’)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Short-eared Owl [sp] (Asio flammeus)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
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)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)

Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Another of my 2017 highlights has to be the views we got of Bitterns this year, especially at Minsmere.

A bright sunny morning saw myself and Keith on our way to the Minsmere nature reserve with Gravesend RSPB group.

On arrival, we decided that rather than try and get around the reserve and all its different habitats we would focus our attention on seeing and photographing certain key species.

The first of these was a Marsh Warbler. Although common on the European continent, they are rarely seen in this country and so this one which had appeared at Minsmere that morning was the top target. It was a very obliging bird and although it spent some time playing hide and seek behind bushes, whilst singing loudly to let us know it was there, we eventually got great views.

Marsh Warbler

Our next target was Eurasian Bittern, which breeds at Minsmere. We have been unlucky in our attempts to catch up with this species this year and so it was fantastic to get great views of one crossing a pool right in front of the hide.

Eurasian Bittern

Eurasian Bittern. Photo by Keith

 

 

 

 

 

Our next stop was Island Mere hide and the target bird was a Savi’s Warbler, another rare continental visitor and which had been heard singing in the area for the previous few days. Whilst here we had good views of Bearded Reedling, Marsh Harrier and of 2 more Bitterns. Eventually, after about an hour, some people, including Keith, heard it singing very briefly – unfortunately, I was not one of them. We waited another 30 minutes but it remained silent and we decided to move on.

Eurasian Bittern coming into land. Photo by Keith

We made our way down to the wader scrape and added a number of species including ducks, geese and wading birds, oh and another 2 Bitterns!

Along the paths and amongst the pools we found many Butterflies and Dragonflies.

4 spotted Chaser

Red-eyed damselfly

Cinnabar Moth

Comma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was soon time to return to our coach. An excellent day with a wonderful variety of wildlife and so many sightings of Bittern, but the Marsh Warbler was undoubtedly the bird of the day.

Red-legged Partridge [sp] (Alectoris rufa)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Butterflies

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small Copper [sp] (Lycaena phlaeas)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)

Dragonflies

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas)
Norfolk Hawker (Anaciaeschan isosceles)
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)

Some more photos from the trip Keith and I made to the London Wetland Centre last Friday

Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

 

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

 

Mandarin Duck (photo by Keith)

Mandarin Duck (photo by Keith)

 

Eurasian Bittern

Eurasian Bittern

 

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

 

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

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After a week taken up primarily with the marking of students assignments (a task which I find far harder and more difficult than preparing and giving the lectures) it was a great relief to get out for a days birdwatching with Keith at the London Wetland centre.

We were greeted on arrival by a group of Ring-necked Parakeets in the trees by the centre,

Ring-necked Parakeets

Ring-necked Parakeets

On the main lagoon there were a good selection of gulls, but only the common ducks.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull

 

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler

We visited the feeder station and searched the sheltered trees, but as seems to have been true all winter so far small birds were not present in numbers and the rarer species have not been drawn into feeders. No doubt this is because of the mild weather and the availability of natural food. We did pick up a Great Spotted Woodpecker perched in a tree and a Goldcrest, whilst 4 Fielfare flew over and we flushed a Green Wodpecker hidden in the grass. We continued our was to the Tower hide. The grazing marsh was flooded and looked like an extension to the lagoon.

Flooded grazing Marsh

Flooded grazing Marsh

We did find two Common Snipe on one of the islands and a pair of Eurasian Stonechat on the grass banks.

Common Snipe (photo by Keith)

Common Snipe (photo by Keith)

Suddenly there was a call that a Eurasian Bittern was in flight over the Northern Lagoon and we were able to see it come into land at the edge of the reed-bed. It was at a distance of approx 800m but it remained perched long enough for everyone present to get a sighting and some very long-distance attempts at photographs before it disappeared into the reeds.

Distant view of perched Eurasian Bittern (photo by Keith)

Distant view of perched Eurasian Bittern (photo by Keith)

As time was getting on we decided to make our way over to the hide nearest where the Bittern had landed in the hope of getting a better view if it re-appeared. On the way we found a small party of Mandarin duck.

Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck

Arriving in the Wildside hide we were informed that we had missed seeing the Bittern by 5 minutes but at least it was still active and there was a chance it would reappear. Eventually I saw a large brown bird fly from the reeds and land behind vegetation – surely the Bittern and sure enough Keith looking from a different angle was able to confirm. It never quite came out from beyond the vegetation but at least we could get some photographs. After 5 minutes it disappeared back into vegetation and we decided to call it a day content with our days birdwatching.

Eurasian Bittern

Eurasian Bittern

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

My friend Keith came up to London from Kent and we spent the day at the London Wetland Centre.

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Our first target was a Brambling that had been seen around the feeder area. But this was to elude us all day despite 4 visits. On then to the Peacock Tower hide to try and find a Bittern. We were successful fairly quickly but although we could make out enough to identify the bird hiding in the reed-bed it was not a very good view. We walked back to the reserve centre via the Lagoon path and were rewarded with sightings of both Lesser and Mealy Redpoll, this latter a first ever sighting for me.

"Mealy Redpoll" (Acanthis flammea)
Mealy Redpoll
Photo by Ron Knight (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sussexbirder/)

Lesser Redpoll    (Carduelis cabaret)
Lesser Redpoll
Photo by Crotach (http://www.flickr.com/photos/crotach/)

We decided that rather than walk around the north side of the reserve we would retrace our steps stopping off again at the feeder area again where we saw Greater Spotted Woodpecker, but still no Brambling, and end up again at the Tower hide to finish off the afternoon. This turned out to be a good decision as we were rewarded with sightings of common Snipe and excellent views of Bittern and Green Woodpecker.

Bittern

Bittern

Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker

An excellent days birding. Good views of Bittern and a good list of species seen, but the highlight for me was the Mealy Redpoll.

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
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)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis flammea cabaret)
Mealy Redpoll (Carduelis flammea flammea)

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.

The break in the stormy weather is holding and so I decide to take the first visit of the year to the London Wetland Centre.

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The sun is shining as I arrive and the birds are active, no doubt taking advantage of the conditions.

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The highlight was some excellent views of Eurasian Bittern – first one in the reedbed and then later another flying being areas of reeds on the other side of the reserve – so almost certainly a different bird.

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There were also excellent views of the 2 Pintail which have been present all winter. Good numbers of Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler also present.

Teal

Teal

Wigeon

Wigeon

Pintail

Pintail

A brief glimpse of a Brambling on the feeder station was a good record for London. An excellent days birdwatching.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)