It is with great pleasure that I can announce to you all that we have bitterns breeding at Old Moor!
This is fantastic news and I can't tell you how pleased we all are.
The chicks are anything up to 2 weeks old and I suspect it will be the end of June before they fledge. We have our fingers firmly crossed that they succeed as there are no guarantees in this world.
We know there is an active nest out there because the female keeps making regular flights around the reedbed to look for food. This is very typical behaviour and is enough for us to say that a female must be feeding chicks somewhere. Hopefully we will see fledged birds or be able to find the nest once the breeding season is well behind us. For now though, we will not be going anywhere near the nest.
The female's flights get less frequent as the chicks grow and we are already noticing a bit of a drop in frequency. But we are in the process today of setting up specific viewing arrangements for visitors to the site. Hopefully we can maximise your chances of seeing a bird but please do follow the on site instructions.
The best chance of a good view is actually on the flood bank before you start the reedbed trail. We have set up a gazebo here to show people the birds and will be looking for volunteers to help us. Please get in touch with Jo (Tree Sparrow) if you are interested.
From here you can see the bird whenever it flies and the views are excellent. In fact there is no need to actually go all the way out to the reedbeds for the best views.
Out in the reeds, we are still happy for people to use the hides, but what we are asking is that you don't stop and watch from the area that we have taped off (red and white tape along the fence line) because the female is regularly flying into here to exploit a food source. Once landed you would never know she was there but if a crowd were to form in that area, it might make her divert her flight and we want her to act as naturally as possible.
So, please keep on walking and there is a good place to watch from just before Bittern Hide that we have clearly marked.
Bitterns have a habit of returning to the same food source until it is exhausted and then moving on to the next good spot. Things may therefore be subject to change so watch this space. Please respect the birds and do not trespass in search of a view or photo.
Matthew (the extremely chuffed Site Manager)
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