We thought that you'd be interested to know that we've been doing a bit of detective work and we think we've established something really rather great about the success of our breeding bitterns!
You will recall that we have had a summer of excitement with bitterns breeding at Old Moor for the first time this year.
Jeff Wragg took this picture of one of the juveniles which successfully fledged and was seen here, at our reserve on Edderthorpe Flash between the 14th and 20th of July.
Also on 14th July, another juvenile was seen at Broomhill Flash, at around the same time as the bird at Edderthorpe, which led us to happily conclude that there had been 2 successful fledgings.
You may also recall, that we put out a call for any more photographs of bitterns taken at Old Moor during the breeding season. This was to help establish whether there had been another bird fledge. There was only ever one sighting of 3 juveniles together and this was before fledging, so we weren't quite sure what had happened to the third bird......
Our wardens and volunteers continued to see what looked like feeding flights after the 14th July, which led them to think that perhaps there was a third juvenile around and still being fed by Mum, but we didn't have any proof.
Well, our request was answered and we recently got these pictures sent to us.....
Dave "Galatas" took this picture of one of our bitterns flying over the reed bed on 16th July.
We know that two juveniles had left the site by this point. Dad is very territorial and won't tolerate fledged birds sharing his space, so hassle from him had been enough to move them on. As far as we know, juvenile birds don't return to the birth site once they have left. So, a closer look at the pictures Dave sent us and......
It was confirmed that this is a juvenile........ which must surely mean that it is the third bird!!!!!
We obviously can't be 100% sure about this, but we think it's a pretty good bet that this is the case!!
Many, many thanks to Dave 'Galatas' for sending us these pictures. He did so very soon after our call went out and it has only been technical issues at our end which have meant we only recently became aware that he had kindly sent them. Still, we got there in the end and I don't know about you, but I don't think that having to wait for confirmation has made the news any less fantastic!!!