Wetland conservation strikes again!
About 4.20pm last pre-evening I was watching for the great white egrets coming into roost when I got a flash of a large brown bird in the corner of my binoculars. Now we don't get many large brown birds around here so my mind knew what it could be. I quickly shifted and re-focused and in an instant I knew I was onto a flying bittern :) It's brief flight over our fledgling reed bed was enough to raise my spirits and remind me that restoration of vital habitats for key species can and does work.
This is the 3rd year running that the reed bed has played host to a bittern since its construction, all that hard work planting over 13,000 reeds was worth it I think you'd agree.
Earlier on in the day we had watched graceful "ringtail" hen harrier quarter the new wetland areas flushing at least 50 snipe - wow. However, later in the day these 50+ snipe were out feeding in the open around the visible islands from the Reception Building.
The two days beforehand had been just as exciting as a jack snipe was located with some common snipe. This small wader is a very difficult one to see and even if you do see one they can difficult to distinguish from their larger cousins. Luck was on our side though as the jack snipe gave a good account of itself, all the while demonstrating its quirky bouncing behaviour. It also helped that most of the day it was positioned right next its common cousin thus showing the subtle plumage and size differences. In fact these birds are usually so secretive that very little is known about their movements, even the total numbers in the country are not certain!
See you soon