Having spent much of my last Blog entry moaning about missing the best of the bird action, I happened to be in the right place when this Bittern came out of the edge of the reed bed to have a look at the world. I think it may be a young one. As I watched, it looked like it might be about to launch into the air, but each time thought better of it and crept back into the cover of the reeds. It did do a bit of posing though, including an attempt at adopting the famous vertical-neck posture to blend in better with the reeds - it is actually known as "bitterning" apparently.
Just in passing, I must mention that my new Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II is giving me some astonishingly sharp photos. This bird was a good 40 or 50 metres away, but cropping in more tightly to these already cropped photos shows how sharp the bird was. That is with a 1.4x converter too. I do not think that the original DO lens would have performed as well.
Apart from this very obliging bird, there were other bitterns on the wing from time to time. It is easy to miss them as they usually make no noise to announce their presence, and the first thing you notice is them gliding silently by too late to raise the camera. Got this one though.
Although the marsh at Ham Wall seemed quiet, a little patience paid off. Here a Swan is taking exception to the insistent presence of a Cormorant.
It ended up giving it a good hissing to! The Cormorant was not bothered. Here it is making a bit of a splash to show its disdain.
Here in Somerset we are still lucky to be seeing Great Egrets every day. A fabulous sight and I am still very keen to photograph them. This one was calling as it erupted from the reed bed.
I am also always on the look out for those other charismatic birds of the wetlands, Marsh Harriers. They seldom come close enough for a good shot, but these are not bad.
At the other end of the size range is this Reed Warbler, although you would be forgiven for not recognising it. It has lost most of its head feathers and looks distinctly weird!
I once saw a photo of a Robin looking like this and it was perched on a sign which read "Queue here for sympathy." I have no idea if this was genuine or not, but it was very apt.
You will also have noticed that there are no Barn Owls in this post. I think the obliging day-flying individual that has featured in the last few posts has become nocturnal or moved away. Here it is taking a dubious look at the daylight and deciding it would go back to bed.
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