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Flying Bittern.


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I feel very honoured today. Whilst going downstream on the Bure about a mile upstream of Thurne Mouth something flew over the top of the boat. Yes, it was the elusive Bittern. I would have possibly expected it around the Hickling area but there it was in large life.

To make the afternoon complete I had a couple of pints of Lacons Falcon in the Lion at Thurne and they were superb.

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We heard them at 3-4am on Barton Broad before now, and in the reeds between Malthouse and South Walsham. Had a close fly over near Matham Broad too. 

They have been seen on the upper Ant too. The more there are, the greater chances you will hear them, but sighting one is just magic.


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Having seen one bittern in the past 40 odd years on the Broads (though I've heard a few) I've been amazed at seeing three (so far) this year.  One flew across the Bure at St Benets, one flew for several seconds alongside and just above my boat heading up the Ant on the bends a little way below Ludham Bridge, and most recently, this week, I saw one come in to land in the reeds near Martham Broad.  Amazing.

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I am VERY jealous of you all !

In 45 years of coming on the Northern Broads ( once only to the South !) I have never seen one.

I have heard plenty and I have spent hours creeping round the edges of Horsey/ Hickling/Deep Dyke/ Heigham Sound etc and NEVER a peep !!

When I finally retire that is all going to change........

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When you see one, they look like a heron with no neck, and the wing beat is faster than a heron. They can also be mistaken for a herring gull, in a dim light, as they have a similar steady flight in a straight line.


I have often seen them flying but these were the only shots I managed to take. They were not on the Broads I am afraid, but in the Camargue.

Here they are very common, in the thousands of acres of reed marsh on either side of the canal. Their habitat is protected by the lack of humans, and the "rotational" method of harvesting the reed.

I have seen them on the ground, but only as young ones and only after standing for over an hour, in the dawn. They come to the edge of a dyke to look for fish and they behave as though they have not seen you. You can watch them for some time, but as soon as you make the slightest move, such as to slowly raise a camera, they will fly off.



Here's another one, that is very elusive. The Squacco Heron, which is very impressive when it takes off, as the belly and undersides of the wings are pure white.



African Bee-eaters, which come in their hundreds to nest in the sandy banks of the canal.



Storks in the top of an old windmill. They come back to the same nest, every year.



The Little Egrets and the Camargue horses live very well together.


They get on pretty well with the Camargue bulls, as well!


Not forgetting thousands of Flamingos.




Is it a bird, is it a plane?

Is it an Otter??

No, it's a Coypu.

If you ever see one of these on the Broads, call the police. I am not joking!

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Just recently quite a few reports of bitterns which is good.

The one around St Benets has been seen a bit, and also saw another at S Walsham. All good stuff!!

Referring back to earlier posts on the lack of wildlife, I was in S Walsham Inner Broad around dusk the other night and there were TEN pairs of Great Crested grebes, most with young. No shortage there then.

Also Horning seems to deluged with those greylags - there is a flock of around 80 or so around the Swan and at least as many up by the Ferry.

Time to have egg pricking sessions in the spring methinks with the geese!!

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Yes I felt very honoured to see one a couple of weeks ago. It was between St Benets  and the Thurne.  Initially flying above the reed bed and then crossed the river just ahead of the boat. Very windy and it was struggling a bit  having landed in the reeds at the edge it was told in no uncertain terms that the flock of greylags did not welcome it and took off again. Made my day

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