Monday, 5 January 2015
bittern-up for the books
I was pleased to read that Brendan had seen the Bittern at the settling beds, as I hadn't seen it since before Christmas and was unsure if it was still about. As the light improved this afternoon I decided to have a look at the ducks down there, and was rewarded with some close up views of Shoveler. All of a sudden, the trilling calls of the Teal alerted me to something going on, and I looked up to see a large stocky bird heading towards me, low over the water. It took a second or two to process what was going on, and a couple more to get my camera pointing in the right direction as the bird landed at the reed edge and lumbered out of sight.....
With nothing really to watch, only the hint of an eye peeping through the reed stems, I went back to the wildfowl. It is interesting to note that there are still birds moulting out of juvenile or eclipse plumage, and while some look tatty, I rather like the black crescents that stand out on some of the white breasts, and the subtle buff and umber tones that blend into the new rufous flank feathering.
A clamour from the far end of the pit announced the geese as they took off and circled before dropping onto the nearby field. I could hear the diminuative Canada amongst the raucous Greylag commotion and managed to get a few shots of it despite being constrained in the front seat of the van. As Dunc has mentioned, this bird has been a local at the Maltings for a good few years, but its sudden appearance at the settling beds just goes to show how birds can show up in unexpected places and move around apparently randomly.