3 Nov 2010

American Bittern, Walmsley Sanctuary, Cornwall.

Sadly no photographs as the bird was always quite distant and there was scarcely breathing room  (in a hide designed for 10 people but holding 40) let alone room to lift a camera. I concentrated instead on getting good views.

I travelled overnight with Jase Atkinson and we pitched up in the designated parking field at around 03.30. A bit of a cat nap and we headed towards the hide at 06.55. I managed to get a seat next to Josh Jones and there followed a tense period of waiting and looking (well most of us looked and tried to ignore the squabbles and claims of queue jumping behind us) until another birder picked the bird up eating a fish but mostly obscured in a ditch. Fortunately it was our side of the hide and for the next 90 minutes it played hide and seek as we endeavoured to get  decent views and get people on to it through our scopes. Some people couldn't help but moan as despite our best efforts they just couldn't see it - even when it was perched in full view after clambering up a dead Reed Mace stem! Actually thinking about it, all the squabbling and arguing came from one couple - they argued with each other, she moaned she couldn't see the bird despite looking through my scope on at least 6 occasions when it was in view, she accused another woman of queue jumping and generally pissed people off.

A cracking bird though and well worth the almost 20 year wait since the last one.


Denzil said...

Hi Phil
Another stunning bird to add to your collection,and what a great reward after such a gruelling journey.
You've also got some excellent photos of the Waxwings and the Firecrest.
During a conversation with the Ringing Team at Shotton Pools Nature Reserve,I mentioned that I was pretty certain that I had recorded a Marsh Warbler on the Reserve,and had they ever had any previous record of one themselves.
As it turned out,they had 'Mist Netted' a Warbler that had been ringed as a Marsh Warbler at Chew Valley,but they thought that it had been ringed in error,because they were pretty certain that it was in fact a Reed Warbler.
Blimey!.....I had enough problems with good views from down to 10yards or so,never mind with the bird in the hand.

They didn't tell me which Ringing Team was right by the way!

Cheers Denzil

Phil Woollen. said...

Reed & Marsh can be very difficult in the field unless yo uget good views. Normally they are separable easily enough in the hand as long as you are looking for the differences and not expecting it to be 'just another Reed Warbler'. Chew Valley must ring 100's of Reed Warblers every year so one may have slipped through undetected. I belive Woolston have also trapped and ringed Marsh Warbler previously. A Pallas's Warbler was ringed in a private garden on the Wirral yesterday!