Bittern watch

At this time of year a wonderful phenomenon occurs around sunset, when conditions are good, whereby Bittern will depart from the reed beds they've been hiding in and circle around the site uttering their gentle bark-like call before departing in a generally NE direction.

Over the past week at least 5 birds have been observed departing the Swineham GPs area with another two from Lodmoor and 1 from Radipole. Some of these will be birds which have spent the winter here but we also believe that birds are using these sites as staging posts before migrating towards their breeding grounds.

This is where we need your help please. Any reed bed, regardless of size, could potentially hold a Bittern or two. Most sites around the Poole Harbour area are being monitored but are you able to get to a local reed bed in Dorset this evening to see/hear if any birds depart as conditions look favourable?

Generally speaking birds will rise from the reed beds half an hour either side of sunset with stragglers occasionally leaving an hour after dusk. The optimum time for this evening will be around 18:40 given recent experiences.

If you could let me know via recorder@dorsetbirds.org.uk or by replying on Twitter if you are able to cover a site then I can coordinate to ensure that best coverage is achieved.

Good luck!