Well as Nicky has reported we have a Bittern that overshot the wonderful and carefully prepared reed beds at Uskmouth and ended up on an island in an angling club in Bettws, sandwiched between the M4, A449, a large housing estate and Bettws School: but to be fair also bounded on one side by the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal and the other by the Afon Llwydd (the Grey River). Because it is not in extensive reed beds it was easy to see when moving and I got some decent photos and video. it seems to be very confiding in the afternoon even ignoring fishermen on the opposite bank. To be fair to Nicky I'll leave the photos up to her when she can post them on here and just post the videos. What a treat to see this amazing bird practically on my doorstep and the first time I have seen a Bittern anywhere although I heard the one in Uskmouth last year.
This was my first effort.
This one shows the bittern reflected in the mirror-like surface of the pool.
This one is really to demonstrate just how the Bittern keeps still as a defensive measure - 8 minutes of a Bittern keeping still - Bor-ing! - just a couple of close ups to liven it up including one where it clearly sees the camera!
In case you are wondering why there is a one, a two and straight to four number three does exist but i decided it needed a bit more work. it's called 'Wading".
Three great videos there Jon, good to see the reflection in the pool and how do they stand so still for so long, he certainly spotted the camera didn't he/she. I like the creeping along the bank, that's how I always imagined a bittern to be. Thanks for posting.
Lot to learn
In reply to gaynorsl:
Thank you Gaynor. I'd absolutely love to see one in Uskmouth and record one actually booming (well I've got the sound of that but the bird isn't visible). The trouble is in its proper location among the reedbeds it's a chance in a million seeing one! This one was attacked by a mink and came off best taking a chunk out of its back, so hopefully it wasn't be attacked again!
In reply to john_l_uk:
Wow it was a very lucky bittern to be attacked by a mink and live to tell the tale so to speak. I don't suppose you have the video to that have you John, it would have to be under the title "scary stuff".
Great videos, John. Lucky you to see a Bittern showing so well--they are often hidden in Bittern-coloured reeds, standing still, with their beak held straight up in the air, pretending to be reeds.
No sorry Gaynor I didn't witness it but a friend did and he put a few photos on Facebook on 'Gwent Birders' page. They were all pretty blurry because it was just a quick 'reaction shot' so no time to set up and focus. Having seen just how fast those mink move I can understand why it was almost impossible to capture but there's enough there to get the gist of what happened including the Bittern making itself huge, rearing up and presenting a formidable defence of sharp bill and massive claws. Suffice to say the later focused and sharp image he took of the mink showed a gash on its back which hopefully will be enough to make it think twice. It didn't faze the Bittern as it was still there as of yesterday!
In reply to Gardenbirder:
Thanks Ann, funny you should mention it but I've got two more videos one of which deals with the whole issue of camouflage! I could post them here but think there's more chance of people seeing them if I post them as a separate thread!
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