This bird really captures my imagination, and every year for about three years while I was studying for a PhD, I would travel very early every Sunday to the reserve (I lived further from it than I do now), to try and catch a glimpse of this odd little heron.
I always went in winter, for three reasons. Firstly the reed beds in which the bittern hides had always died back a little, and so they were easier to see. Secondly, although there are one or two pairs that remain the the UK all year, we do get migrant visitors as well, and as far as I understand, they are more likely to come to us in winter, and finally, in winter, its too cold for anyone else so I was less likely to be disturbed!
Now as it happens, I was rarely alone in the hide that overlooks the reed bed, but those who were there were often very similar to me, in that they dress in camouflage for no reason (I’m in a hide, why do I need to look like a tree? I don’t know! But for some reason it just doesn’t feel right otherwise), they are usually regretting the decision to leave a warm bed, and they inevitably have lots of camera gear on them.
I was the first to spot this bird, after sitting in the hide for around two hours. This photo was just before it flew to a neighbouring bed, and we didn’t see it again for the rest of the day. I feel very lucky to have such a clear picture, and although others have got much closer, clearer photos, I have always been very pleased with how this one turned out.
A question for you: Would you like me to talk more about the technical side of these images? ISO, shutter, aperture, drive mode, metering etc.? I feel like I probably ought to put this info in, but I never know if people are interested. Let me know with a comment if you think I should.