Little Bittern

Sunday 7th June 2009
I saw the Somerset Little Bittern this evening at 7:00pm, and what a cracking bird, but it hadn't been easy. I arrived with Linda at about 2:30pm with news that it hadn't been seen since this morning when it had flown deeper into the reed-beds. This didn't sound promising, and so we decided to visit the Peat Moors Centre and walk around the western end of Shapwick Heath. We later returned to Ashcott station to check out the eastern end of Shapwick Heath, but it soon became apparent after talking to some happy-looking birders that the Little Bittern had been seen recently several times around Loxton Marsh. We arrived at the spot (ST459396) to find it had been seen minutes before, and several times over the previous hour, but we had to wait an hour and a half, with it calling almost constantly, before someone managed to get on it with their scope. We had good views of this fantastic bird deep in the reed-bed as the reeds swayed out of the way, and after 20 minutes it climbed up the reeds, took to the air and flew further along into the reeds. Brilliant! This was the icing on the cake of what was a very pleasant afternoon, which also included two Black Terns (towards Street Heath), a Bittern (briefly in flight), a Little Egret, two Cuckoos, three Hobbies, two Buzzards, numerous Cetti's Warblers, Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Whitethroats, and a Garden Warbler.

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