Five minutes later after a brisk walk that took us to the 'less explored' parts of the reserve we joined a small crowd queueing up to look through a scope at some brown streaks in some vegetation. It took me ages to find it as I hadn't realised it was so close, just about fifteen yards away. It wandered slowly through dense bushes and I resigned myself to ticking most but not all of a Little Bittern.
Then, miracle, it flew! The kinked neck, the long bill, the dark primaries and secondaries! And then, knock me down with a feather, it landed in a large bush in the open and proceeded to sit there for a good half hour preening itself, occasionally stretching, having a look around.
What a bird! The shape, the beady eye, the long solid bill, the long feathers of varied colour, the bristles forming a kind of beard. I drank in the views, unlikely as they are to be repeated.
Eventually it stretched and flopped down into the long grass invisible to us. So just a few chats with fellow local birders and on my way.
Twitching at its best. If I'd seen that abroad I'd have given it 5 minutes and then been on to the next tick, but here it is the standout star of the show.
That's Little Bitterns done for me. I'm not going for another one. What would be the point in hanging around for ages somewhere to get a view not nearly as good as the one I had today?*
No photos from me. Alan Reynolds was there, as always a pleasure to bump into, and has already posted some great photos.
* If that sounds a little maudlin I'm reminded of something a birder said many years ago after a talk he had given on his 'once in a lifetime' visit to Siberia. He said, to paraphrase, that of course it's a 'once in a lifetime' trip. why would you repeat it when you can go somewhere else for a different 'once in a lifetime' trip? Similarly, why spend my petrol money and use my birding tokens up on another Little Bittern for worse views than I got today when I can use them on a new different bird and a new experience?