Have you seen the Bittern?

Jamie Hall

A welcome winter visitor to Brockholes, the Bittern has once again returned and has been spotted by a few regular visitors.

What is a Bittern?

A rare and shy heron, the Bittern spends almost all its time hidden away in large reedbeds, where it feeds on eels and other fish. It is has wonderfully camouflaged plumage, helping it to blend into the reeds. It can also stand motionless for long periods to avoid detection.

Our eagle eyed (and patient) visitors have seen the Bittern in two places at Brockholes this winter, begging the question, is this a lone Bittern, or are there two?!

Classified as Amber in the UK Conservation status, there are said to be 80 male Bitterns breeding in the UK, with around 600 birds breeding here. It is thought there are between 21 and 29 thousand breeding pairs in Europe.

When can you spot the Bittern?

The Bittern seems to be most visible at dusk around Number 1 Pit Lake, or Meadow Lake. You have to be very patient and quiet as they skulk through the reeds silently, waiting for its prey of Fish, amphibians and insects.