Bittern Watchpoint. Lea Valley Park. Essex.Jan 2009.

I spent a few hours here in the hope of connecting with one of the 2 bitterns that had been frequenting the reedbed in front of the hide. I was to photograph just the one but although typically skulking and hidden for most of the time i was given some lovely views. It certainly is an experience in the watchpoint with over enthusiastic photographers moving vantage points every time it moved rather than just waiting for the right position and shot. If there was an inch of space next to my shoulder then it was soon filled with some lump and a 300 lens, and if he did fit in then surely i must be thinner than i thought!!!...

But still it was a lovely time watching these camouflaged birds and right in front of you too. The area had definitely changed over the years but the water level was quite high and the bird was not seen to catch anything, and reportedly the day previous too. What i did notice on one occasion was the birds tongue, a long pink slither not too unlike a woodpeckers, something i had not seen before.

A pair of great crested grebes came and fished in front of the hide and unlike the bittern caught a fish in the form of a young pike. They then moved away and started to display to each other, showing spring is not too far away. And along with a couple of supporting water rails it was an enjoyable morning.