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.