Tuesday, 23 April 2013

23rd April: Frisky Bitterns

It was a stunning sunny morning down on the Avalon Marshes today, clear skies and not a breath of wind first thing. The weather clearly had an effect on the Bittern population as there was a notable increase in activity over recent days. While standing at the 2nd viewing platform at Ham Wall RSPB, 2 birds got up from the reedbed and started circling quite high over the reserve. The size difference made it apparent that it was a male chasing a female. The female was croaking loudly and this aroused another male that had been hidden in the reeds behind us to burst up, fly over our heads and join the chase, only to be followed by yet another male! For a bird renowned for its secretive habits, this was really quite a sight, and a fascinating insight into their behaviour.
The original pair

the second male

he was having a good old 'croak' too
 Other interesting birds on the reserve included 5 Garganey, 4 Common Sandpiper, an oddly inland Oysterctacher, 3 Arctic Terns and rapidly increasing numbers of Whitethroat, Reed and Sedge Warblers.

Earlier, from the first platform, this Coot gave a very close (and very rapid) flypast. I just about managed a photo that fitted it all in the frame.  Take a look at the close up of the feet, weird wierd creature!

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