Borderline Bad You Know What!

Regular readers will know about the trouble we have at Minsmere with those pesky Bitterns - coming too close to the hides for all the big lenses, flagrantly ignoring the bird book descriptions describing them as "shy and elusive", giving us many Health & Safety worries and so on.  This winter though, they do seem to have taken all the warnings and memos to heart and have been far more difficult to spot - perhaps because the water levels are higher than usual after all the rain, so their regular fishing spot on the water's edge in front of the Island Mere hide is a bit flooded.  Whatever the reason, it's been pleasant not having to deal with all the complaints and sobbing photographers as the Bitterns wander around inside minimum focus points.

However, that nearly all came to an abrupt halt at the weekend.  Yes, I'm afraid so, we've a troublemaker in our midst.  He didn't quite reduce me to headshots, but it was a close run thing!

The start was OK, someone spotted him hiding at the edge of the reeds

"Well done ol' chap" I called to him, "Perfect display of your camouflage and skulking behaviour, just like the books say"  "Huh", replied the Bittern, "I'm only getting my feathers straight before showtime"

Ahh, yes, it was a bit of a weekend theme, bad hair - the Little Egret was suffering too

"Cooeee" called the Bittern. "Here I am!"

"You're not thinking of coming out from that reed edge, are you?" I asked

"So what if I am?" came the truculent reply, the Bittern giving me a funny look

"You know you're not meant to, Ian will be very annoyed with you!"

"Ho ho ho, I don't care" he chortled

"Oh what big feet you have" I admired

The Bittern simply smirked, giving us one final pose before disappearing into the reedbed once more...

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  • You're going to have trouble there WJ, proper cheeky chappie or ess as may be? Love the "funny look" with it's eyes almost upside down, great commentary thanks WJ.

    Lot to learn

  • At last! Don't worry WJ, far from being annoyed, it's good to see that at least one of our bitterns is actually bothering to put in an appearance. They've not exactly been elusive this winter. I'd say they've been hiding too well - I can't actually remember the last time I even spotted one! Still, they're just starting to grunt now, so in a few weeks they should be easy enough to hear, even if they go back into hiding.
    That said, why should they hide again? If they don't start putting in regular appearances then they'll be relegated to a best supporting actor role (at best) as the otters are threatening to steal the limelight, and the marsh harriers are knocking at the door, too.
  • Made I larf WJ, thanks!

     

     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • I don't know what it is but they always behave and go by the books when I'm around, so if I came down for a day I'm sure they'd stay well-hidden for the entire week!

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    Nige   Flickr

  • Gorgeous pics as usual, WJ--thanks, and as others have mentioned, great commentary.
    Nigel, We've had our best ever views of Bitterns at Minsmere, so I believe you'd have your work cut out for you there. Unfortunately, we do not get over there very often at all, more's the pity, but just on the off chance that you actually do have that unfortunate effect and that most of Minsmere's Bitterns have now finally read the textbooks, if you let us know when you're going, we'll make it a point not to be there--lol!

    Kind regards, 

    Ann

  • In reply to Ian Barthorpe:

    Ian Barthorpe said:
    then they'll be relegated to a best supporting actor role (at best) as the otters are threatening to steal the limelight

    That might be what's happened - they've been checking out the social media and are getting disgruntled with all the otter sightings!

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    Find me on Flickr / All about your camera - The Getting off Auto Index

  • In reply to Gardenbirder:

    Gardenbirder said:
    let us know when you're going, we'll make it a point not to be there--lol!

    You certainly learn who your friends are here!  Actually, I wouldn't mind doing a week long East Anglian reserve tour. Obviously, I can't give advance warning in case the Bitterns hear about it and go into hiding, but I don't know that I'll be doing it anytime soon, so you're probably safe for a little while. at least.

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    Nige   Flickr

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    Ha, ha, Nigel--but we probably cannot venture to Minsmere until the Christmas holidays at the very earliest, so you're safe, too! But do let me know when you might be off to Minsmere to ensure we do (or do not!) overlap--lol! I promise not to breathe a word to the Bitterns. We know a couple volunteers at Minsmere, sometime posters on various threads here, and we also hope to meet up with them as well when possible (a few other LM forumates have also met them a few years ago at a meet-up in London). Which started me thinking... I wonder if an east coast meet-up might be possible at some future date.

    Kind regards, 

    Ann

  • In reply to Gardenbirder:

    Gardenbirder said:
    Which started me thinking... I wonder if an east coast meet-up might be possible at some future date

    You're always welcome, plenty of threads on this Minsmere section to help you decide what time of year you'd like to come :-)

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    Find me on Flickr / All about your camera - The Getting off Auto Index

  • In reply to Gardenbirder:

    It's more like something I keep thinking of doing at the moment rather than a plan but sure, I'll let you know if I do suddenly decide to organise something.

    Gardenbirder said:
    I wonder if an east coast meet-up might be possible at some future date.

    Why not 

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    Nige   Flickr