Twice bittern, once shy

Ok, it’s a long way from Kineton… but I saw a pair of bitterns yesterday (5.30pm) down at the Avalon Marshes in Somerset. They sailed over the extensive reserve, in tandem, and twice did a full circuit of the lagoon I was watching before slowly descending behind trees to once again shyly take up residence in the reeds. A real red letter day – it’s more than thirty years since I saw my first (and only) bittern!

Also a great white egret which looked like a sleeker version of Concorde when it flew high over the water. And fine views of kingfishers.

Avalon marshes are huge – the result of peat extraction and some careful habitat management and well worth a visit, if only to see the new landmark futuristic hide which stands proudly by the old towpath of the all-but-vanished Glastonbury Canal. Much of the area is now a National Nature Reserve looked after by EN, RSPB, Hawk & Owl Trust, etc.

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