Bitterns basically have simple requirements; tall, wet vegetation full of food. In the UK, this means reedbeds and fish. As the reedbed tour continues, this week we looked at fish populations and started at Titchwell. The reserve had one ‘boomer’ and one successful Bittern nest this year. Electro-fishing produced fair amounts of Rudd and Eels, both key prey for Bitterns, and the reedbed restoration some 5 years back has produced a good reed edge.
The freshmarsh at Titchwell is currently undergoing a make-over. Reed around the margins has been blitzed and islands have been re-profiled and re-levelled. Expect good birds over the coming years! Today the nearly dry marsh had plenty of waders around the diggers, but thankfully nothing rare: 200+ Dunlin, 100+ Golden Plover, plenty of Ruff, 10+ Whimbrel and a Garganey.
And finally, a look around the reedbed at Otmoor. The catch here was mainly Pike and Perch, indicating an early stage in the development of the fish community. It will be a year or two yet before Bitterns boom here. Two Little Stints, a Ruff, Hobby and 14+ Red Kites in the general area added to the interest.
Below: the freshmarsh at Titchwell takes shape.