February has been a surprisingly good month for me at Eyebrook, and I reached my rough target of 90 species for the year this morning with amazing views of the Bittern at the inflow. Definitely a case of third time lucky, having failed to see it last Friday and again on Saturday. This bird has the rather odd habit of feeding under the trees, usually well away from the inflow stream, and today it was doing just that, although it did walk along the stream at one point.
Having never photographed a Bittern before, I was quite pleased to get these first few shots, but even more pleased with the final ones, taken from the bridge in excellent light at a range of about 25 yards. These are just a few from the 150+ I took:
Initial views under the trees were OK, but unspectacular
Then it moved into the open
Posed a bit...
Then appeared much closer at the edge of the stream
Came a bit closer still, then...
Boom! (it didn’t actually go ‘boom’, of course, that’s just a way of expressing satisfaction in modern birding parlance).
After this it walked off back into the trees, where I later saw it catch and eat a vole. In all, it was on view for about an hour.
Other February highlights were the site’s first ever Cetti’s Warbler, which I heard calling at the inflow on the 16th, and a Peregrine on the 2nd. The remaining new species for the year were Pintail, Tawny Owl, Grey Wagtail and Mistle Thrush.