What a day!

A magical wildlife day today, which started as I looked out of the kitchen window when making breakfast. A white bird was flying in the field just beyond the garden. Could it be? It turned, wings fanning the air, no mistaking it – a beautiful Barn Owl. I raced upstairs to get dressed and rushed outside with the camera, but he’d gone. I waited for a while, but he didn’t come back. I hope I’ll see him again.

I’d missed the best of the early morning light, but it was a lovely day, so I headed over to the Fen. I was about to set out for a walk, when a singing Wren caught my eye near the visitors centre. To my surprise, a second Wren flew down and attacked it! They fought and wrestled together in the snow for quite some time, I’ve never seen anything like it. Here’s a composite image of three frames I took.

They clung on to each other, rolling over on the ground and pecking violently. Eventually one broke away, and the victor chased him.

I continued up the path, and things seemed pretty quiet until a large brown bird suddenly flew up out of the reedbed in front of me. I couldn’t believe my eyes – a Bittern! Absolutely incredible! I stood open mouthed watching it fly heavily away. I finally managed to gather my wits and snap a couple of photos.

Ok, so it’s just a record shot, but what an amazing experience. Sure I’ve seen a Bittern before – you’re almost guaranteed to spot one of these rare birds from a hide at Minsmere, but to have one leap out in front of me, on my local patch, was utterly astounding! What a special bird. Speaking to the wardens when I got back to the centre, they have had wintering Bittern’s here before, although people have rarely seen them. Suffice to say, I’ve spent the rest of my day grinning from ear to ear!

Apparently, watching a photographer standing in the cold trying to photograph you is hilarious…

 To finish off a great day, I sat for a couple of hours in the garden and was treated to several visits from an obliging Coal tit.

(Click images to view larger.)




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