Thursday, 9 December 2010


I've waited a long time to get some half decent New Hythe Bittern shots and today I got my chance. I stood at the southern end of Abbey Mead lake and counted nine Grey Herons basking in the sun on the distant north edge of the lake. I wondered if maybe the Bittern would also be attracted to this area and a closer scan proved me right when I spotted this one in the NE corner.

This is a pretty inaccessible area but I managed to get close enough to fire a few rounds off while literally lying on the leaves and snow to keep myself out of sight of this extremely shy and elusive bird.

I must have watched it for a good thirty to thirty five minutes during which time it hardly moved, for the most part it kept to the sky watching pose which is so associated with the Bittern. It almost looked as if it was watching the planes and other birds fly over.

As you can see above it was twice visited by small parties of ducks and on two occasions a Heron flew in close by where it was standing on the reeds. But each time a visitor arrived the Bittern took absolutely no notice, giving the impression that it was too busy to look and was also way above such goings on, aloof almost.

By the time i'd finished I was cold and stiff after staying still for so long, much of the time having to shoot with one hand while I held back the undergrowth with the other, but I was really pleased to have seen the bird and got the shots. I was also pleased that I hadn't disturbed it, it was unaware of my presence and I left it exactly as I'd found it.
I managed to add five new species to the New Hythe December list as well this morning. Pied Wagtail, Collared Dove, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Canada Goose. This brings the total species so far to 60. It's going well so far!


Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful, beautiful Bittern. A really great shots.

Mike Attwood said...

Very nice Phil, I think I shall have to make the effort to get over to New Hythe lakes.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Brilliant shots of the Bittern , very envious , well done .
Looked for your car in Brooklands car park , but didn't see it .
I see there's a M&F Goosander at Sevenoaks , might have a go for them .

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Sorry I am late posting, but after reading, and seeing the photo's you took of the Bittern, which are terrific, I don't know if I should associate with you any more(haha)You get my praises for the effort and time you put into getting your Bittern photo's.
You will have to give me lessons.
Have a good weekend.

The Early Birder said...

Nice job Phil...definitely worth the aching Cheers FAB.