At RSPB Dungeness, one of the first signs of spring is a booming sound that carries far across the water.

This strange call is great news for the reserve team. It means Britain’s loudest bird, the bittern, has returned to breed again.

Once extinct in the UK, bitterns have only been booming at RSPB Dungeness since 2009, yet despite the relatively recent appearance, they are now regular visitors. Last year, bitterns even expanded their South East breeding range, with a pair recorded as nesting on our RSPB Brading Marshes reserve, in the Isle of Wight for the first time in history.

This highly secretive type of heron lives in dense reed beds, making them very difficult to survey, but the UK population has now reached its highest count since records began.

So many visitors are keen to see the rare birds that the reserve now offer special ‘bittern breakfast’ events, where guests can walk the reed beds just after sunrise; when the chance of hearing, or even seeing, a bittern is highest. Running every Saturday morning between Saturday 6, 20 & 27 April, and due to popular demand, a Sunday date on Sunday 14th April.

Events cost £20 per adult (with discounts for members/ and children) and sell out fast. To book your place visit our Dungeness events page.

Image by Graham Parry