Saturday, 14 April 2018

American Bittern at Carlton Marsh

As I said last Sunday today would be my first chance at the American Bittern due to work commitments so it was good to watch the continued reports of it showing all week despite poor weather and as the weather looked a little better for today we jumped in the car and headed up the M11/A11 arriving in the car park just before 7am this morning.

We walked towards the area favoured by the Bittern I guess a half mile from the car park and picked up a reeling Gropper not far into the treck. Shortly after getting to the watch point Jimmy picked out a Ring Ouzel to give me another year tick followed by booming Bittern and plenty of Marsh Harrier nest building activity. Two Common Cranes flew over our heads and a couple of Whimbrel dropped in behind us. Up to three Barn Owl quartered the fields until about 10am and a single Wheatear dropped in too. Sand Martins and a few Swallows hawked overhead before the star bird flew in from the right dropping right in front of us but out of site in the reeds. This was now almost 11am and was the first sighting of the day. We watched that reed fringe for the next hour or so and got just a couple of Water Deer for our effort before the phone rang to say another border had it in a field 500 yards to our right so the crowd twitched as one and we then got ground views to add to the amazing flight view already had. The crowd was joyous and the bucket was rattling again. On the walk back we picked up our first Willow Warbler of the year too.

American Bittern  (not the easiest bird to find and even harder to get an image of)
American Bittern
Yes it's there.....a proper record shot!
The life list has bulged for the second time this year and now sits at 394

On the way home we made as short stop at Cavenham Heath were I year ticked Stone Curlew and the Jims added Woodlark.

A decent days birding with or without the lifer in good company. The twitch seemed to be enjoyed by all and was as complete a contrast to the Burnham PGT twitch as you could get.

One of several gatherings along the footpath

Year list now 186
Life list now 394

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