As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 5 May 2014

Booming bitterns are thriving on Somerset Levels, survey shows

By WMNPBowern | Posted: April 30, 2014

Record breaking results from the first of two spring bittern counts across the Avalon Marshes in Somerset have delighted conservationists, local people and visitors.

The bittern is a stocky, elusive heron, whose brown-streaky colouring enables it to move and hunt stealthily through its reedbed habitat. Bitterns are most easily identified by the distinctive booming call of the males.

Staff from Natural England, the RSPB and Somerset Wildlife Trust with a team of over 40 volunteers coordinated a survey recently, listening out for the booming male birds. An amazing 41 birds were heard, with signs that there were probably more.

The team assembled at 5am in the misty pre-dawn twilight, when the birds are at their most active, and counted from strategic points over the three nature reserves for an hour. This enabled them to home in on the individual sounds and accurately count the bird’s calls.

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