With a visit to see my Dad planned on Sunday for Father`s Day and a `lifer` showing 20 miles from where my parents live, I decided to reduce my carbon footprint somewhat by doing both journeys in one go.
An adult female Little Bittern had been present at Rickmansworth Aquadrome for the past week, frequenting a small river and being remarkably `showy` for such a shy species. I had visions of adding another `tick` in my book. The sun was shining (a rarity in itself!) as I pulled into the car park where I was greeted by a few birders that had also just arrived. We all asked each other if any of us knew where to go, none of us did, but we found a map of the area and saw the location of the Little Bittern. We walked to the site, getting lost once, but there was no chance of missing the area as we were greeted by the following;
The bird was showing, but was constantly obscured by reeds, however I did get my first views of a Little Bittern in the U.K. and the world. She was constantly fishing, catching sticklebacks with consummate ease and at one point caught a newt, but was eventually flushed from her reedbed by a pair of Canada Geese, so I saw the bird in flight! Her new location was found, but whilst I was on site the bird never showed in the open and with my Dad expecting me, I left.
The only photo I have is below, a little obscured by reeds, but the bird is there;
For some better photos of this lovely bird click here.
The Little Bittern is a rare vagrant to our shores, although the species has bred here, in 1984 at a place called Potteric Carr in South Yorkshire, but there are an average of 5 sightings per year. A bird that is the size of a Moorhen and more at home in the warmer climes of Europe and the Middle East.