It hasn't happened anywhere near often enough, in fact the last time it happened was in 2003, and before that it was in the 1950s. I was starting to think it might ever happen again, but it has! We have recently confirmed that BITTERNS HAVE SUCCESSFULLY RAISED YOUNG AT STRUMPSHAW FEN. Well done girls!* Whoopeedo! We think the young from one nest are now fully-fledged - one young bittern was posing near the fen hide today - and the youngsters in a second nest are not far off. That's cause for a little celebration. It's not that we don't have plenty of bitterns at Strumpshaw (we do, and they are famed for their willingness to be photographed) but they have not managed to raise a family here for quite a while, and wardens and reserves ecologists have spend a far bit of time trying to understand why. We think that saltwater flooding, and its devastating effect on the fish population, and the shortage of really wet places to nest safe from predators are probably both involved, and we have some cunning plans to make things better. With record numbers of bearded tits nesting and more than 14 young marsh harriers on the wing, its been a bumper year for reedbed birds at Strumpshaw - that's worth breaking open a packet of hobnobs for!
*the male bittern (shame on him) makes absolutely no contribution to the nest building, incubation or feeding of young