Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Old Moor RSPB - The 17th hour of Little Bittern twitching

This was my only free day before I left for Spurn, other days taken up with goodbyes and packing. It was therefore my last chance to attempt once more to try and see the phantom Little Bittern at Old Moor. By now, having spent over 16 hours since its first appearance last year not seeing it, I was at breaking point. Seeing it today was simply a must.
I brought a uni friend, Issac, along, so I had a comforting shoulder should I once more fail to connect with the bird. As soon as we arrived though things started to look up, as a few birders were standing on the bridge outside the Bittern Hide saying that the bird was being very vocal. After a short while we also heard it, far softer and more mellow than I had anticipated from its call, but proof that the thing did actually exist.
The bird was clearly calling from a matter of feet in front of us, all the more frustrating but then one of the birders quickly indicated that he could see it. We were with him immediately but it took me a while (relative to the time we had) to work out where exactly he was looking, until I realised just how close it actually was, and that it was sat at the top of the reeds. I will never forget that image, of the bird sat atop the reeds just there, almost right in front of me. It did not sit there long, opening its wings to reveal the large white patches and diving into the bushes. It continued to call from there for a short while before it flew off into the reed-beds past the hide. Issac had missed it when it had sat up but saw it when it flew past the hide, the occasion when I missed it. It all worked out nicely in the end then. I finally saw the bird in the 17th hour of trying, and Issac got the bird on his first proper twitch.
The relief of seeing the bird at long last, even if I failed to get a photo of it. We tracked to where it had landed in the reeds and waited a solid four hours for it to come back out, but it failed to do so before we left at 13.30, and at the time of writing, 16.00, there has still be no further reports. Sadly no pictures then, but the view was fantastic and all that I needed. What a bird.
Other birds on site were very much the same as yesterday. The Great Bittern did a couple of flybys, throughout the day, but none were particularly close. A Tree Sparrow turned up in front of the hide and started catching damselflies which was something of a novelty. There were also a few insects on the wing, including Four-spot Chaser and Black-tailed Skimmer.
-Black-tailed Skimmer
-Tree Sparrow
So after many hours waiting I finally got the bird I had been after, plus it was another fantastic day out with plenty of nice birds and good company. Its nice to be able to settle this old score. Now for a new arch nemesis...
Species List:
Old Moor RSPB: Black-headed Gull, Chaffinch, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Stock Dove, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, Coot, Moorhen, Great Tit, Bittern, Mute Swan, Wren, Common Tern, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Swallow, Swift, Sand Martin, Whitethroat, Great-crested Grebe, Goldfinch, Jackdaw, Gadwall, Canada Goose, Long-tailed Tit, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Greylag Goose, Reed Bunting, Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Herring Gull, Little Bittern,

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