Bittern doing what bittern do best…

…hiding! There are bittern around the reserve this winter, but whether because of high water levels, or because the relatively mild weather so far this winter has kept numbers on the reserve down again this year, they are being seen consistently on a pretty much daily basis, but often only one sighting in a day from different locations. Andy Copleston kindly sent in this picture earlier in the week of a bittern in the reeds fringing the southern shore of Ivy Lake:

Bittern by A Copleston

Bittern by A Copleston

Yes, I know. I had to look twice too! Try double clicking the picture to open it and zoom on the mid-point. It is there honest!

When you do see a bittern like this it does make you wonder how many others are out there under your nose being overlooked!

Kingfisher are showing quite well at the moment, particularly from Ivy North Hide and over Ivy Silt Pond, the ring-billed gull and long-tailed duck are still about, as is the great white egret (usually on Mockbeggar, Rockford or Ivy Lakes). New to the Blashford winter scene this season though are redpoll with sightings of a couple of birds feeding on the alder with siskin near Lapwing Hide. They have yet to be seen from the Woodland Hide though, where siskin are also thin on the ground still, with the birds preferring the alder and silver birch seeds of which there is apparently still plenty supply. Brambling have been seen in the Forest, but as yet have not made it to Blashford this winter…

A lovely day in the end today, it was very icy first thing this morning, with black ice all along Ellingham Drove and particularly by the entrance to the reserve. Last year (and this year so far) were so mild it is easy to forget, but this particular spot is always nasty in a cold snap so please do take care as you slow down on the approach and also be aware that the main car park (Tern Hide) can at times be terribly treacherous and that staff may choose to keep the car park (and possibly Tern Hide itself) closed if we deem it too dangerous. Forewarned is forearmed!

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