Monday, 1 March 2010

Thrice Bittern

Press week on Birdwatch has started, and today was a typically busy Monday. But we still have to eat, and instead of grub-on-the-go-as-we-work it was a welcome text from Mark Pearson that decided today's lunchtime venue - Stoke Newington Reservoirs.

Within half an hour of receiving a message that a Bittern - amazingly, the site's third this winter - was on show in reeds on the East Reservoir, David Callahan, Beccie Armstrong and I were alongside Mark on the London Wildlife Trust's viewing platform enjoying distant views of this skulking heron as it fed along the reedy margins of the south bank. There isn't a great deal of Bittern habitat here (not that they need much in winter), and I don't expect it will stay long, but it was great to see one on the deck in urban London. As it was only a 40-minute lunch break and the bird was distant it wasn't one for the camera, but for an excellent vignette of one of the site's other Bitterns this winter, as it was mobbed on the wing during the freeze-up earlier this year, see page 4 of March's Birdwatch.

In the meantime, congratulations to Mark for another great record from this previously underwatched site. With other finds in recent years including Golden Oriole and Iceland Gull, 'Stokey' continues to produce the goods.

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