Emerging bleary eyed form their winter hibernation, the staff and volunteers from the Avalon Marshes conservation organisations (RSPB, NE and SWT), set their alarms clocks for ridiculous ‘o’clock and proceeded to perambulate the marshy tracks of their respective reserves, ears alert for the sound of the booming bittern.

They were not disappointed...

The line of the graph still seems to pointing to the skies, with last year’s peak count of 34 birds, rocketing to 41 birds confirmed with a query on a possible 3 more! SWT Westhay reported 6 NE Shapwick Heath and Canada Farm reported 12 with an additional on private land

With RSPB Ham Wall bursting at the seams with 20 -23 on the main reserve and 1 at Tinneys Ground and an additional on adjacent private land owned by Godwins!

 Another survey is planned for April, where one tends to find that territorial battles have been settled and one is left with the dominant males maintaining their home ranges.

Hats off the volunteers (in excess of 30 of them) who put the time in, but hey we cooked them a good breakfast afterwards!

 Ray Summers - Warden, Ham Wall

Below is a national graph produced from booming figures over the last 24 years. Somerset is the black line with the really sharp climb. As Ray, rightly points out this will be pointing further skywards after this years figures are added. The graph is a really nice summary and shows the success of the reedbed management we have taken across reserves in the Avalon Marshes over the last few years - what a fantastic result - thanks to all concerned! Great to see this species in such recovery.

Steve Couch - Assistant Warden, Ham Wall