Sunday, 20 May 2012

More Bitterns from Minsmere

Following on from this post:

This post will have a lot of images I'm afraid, but please make sure you have a look at all of them. It will be worth it, I promise!

I wanted to have another go at the Bitterns that evening, so headed back to the Island Mere Hide at about 3 in the afternoon and waded through the water to get underneath. Because it was the afternoon this time, the sun was at a better angle, and was lighting up the side of the reeds from where I hoped the Bittern would appear. While I waited, there was nothing else in front of the hide, except for a Greylag Goose and some Sticklebacks in the water just in front!

My parents were in the hide above me, and were getting a bit bored by now, but I kept persuading them to stay a little longer. Luckily the waiting payed off, as at about 5.30 I saw the Bittern swim out of the reeds and then it gradually started coming towards the hide, hugging the reed margin very closely.

As I was fairly low down, I soon lost him (I think it's a male as it has some blue at the base of the bill) as he progressed closer and closer through the reeds, the only sign of his presence being the odd movement of a reed or the sound of him as he crept towards me. Occasionally he would pop his head up though:

Eventually he made his way out of the reeds and started walking across more open water. This was the moment I had been waiting for, and I couldn't believe that I was watching a Bittern so close. The resulting images are some of my favourite shots I have ever taken.

By the end I couldn't even fit the whole bird in at 400mm, and it was only about 5m from the hide. Suddenly, with its harsh call, it took flight and flew off into the reedbed.

I only have another week and a half of exams, so I am looking forward to when it's all over, and I can get out with the camera again.

Thanks for reading...


  1. Excellent shots.

    I didn't have one show when I was there a few weeks ago. Mind you it rained the whole weekend so I cant blame them!

    1. Thanks Neil.

      I was there at the very end of March when we still had the good weather!

  2. Stunning shots Oscar, well worth the wait. Beautiful lighting on them too.

  3. It's a beautiful and unusual sequence, Oscar and you will never forget how you felt when you were taking the shots. Look forward to seeing you after the exams are through.

  4. Glad to see that they've finally got the photography situation sorted at Minsmere Oscar. A super set of images.