I was lucky enough to bump into Alan Woodcock down at New Hythe today. Until then my visit had been fairly uneventful really, but that soon changed. Alan had just spotted a Bittern in the reeds on Abbey Mead, it was well hidden but I managed to get a sight of it after a bit of searching. As I watched it I noticed a fairly large bird fly into a reed bed a bit further along the lake. This turned out to be a second Bittern which we were both delighted about, two Bittern within about 100 yards of each other on our local patch. How good is that, especially after my encounter with one last week. To get a slightly better view and a record shot we walked around the side of the lake and crossed a small stream which gave us a view straight across to the reeds where the second bird could be seen a bit more clearly. But not very clearly as the picture below shows! Left clicking it will help. After a bit of a chat we went our separate ways feeling pretty pleased with ourselves, Alan crossing the stream and retracing his steps and me following the little used footpath to return to the car park. But there was more excitement to come for me. I had only walked fifty or sixty yards when to my astonishment I found a third Bittern! It was right next to me in the reeds not fifteen feet away. It had obviously seen me and was relying on it's camouflage to stay hidden instead of flying off in panic as a Heron had done further back along the path. This was by far the best view i've had of a Bittern and luckily I had the camera out and was able to take a few pictures before, unfortunately the bird decided that discretion was the better part of valour and made it's exit. So, three Bitterns in about twenty minutes, it doesn't get much better than that, especially in your own back yard so to speak, and who knows how many more there are on the site at the moment. Other birds seen before the trio of Bitterns included a Green Sandpiper which flew over the edge of Brooklands towards the river giving it's distinctive call. A couple of Lapwings along the edge of the river and a probable Redshank which flew up in the distance. Four Bullfinches in various places along the river. Two Kingfishers, one on Abbey Mead and one at the top end of Streamside, which is still frozen solid. A couple of Siskin in the Alder trees adjacent to Streamside. A Sparrowhawk that cruised silently along the stream at the southern edge of the East scrub, and three Goldcrests around the edges of Abbey Mead lake.