I had a great day out with John Conway from the 'Bring Nature To Life Forum' and his friend Steve today firstly at Mere Sands Wood and then at an undisclosed place fairly nearby to see the Bitterns and later the Short-eared Owls.
From Rufford Hide at Mere Sands Wood LWT one Bittern showed well at times (well, the longest and best views I've ever had) although it was a little too far off for me to take any worthwhile photos. All John's Bittern shots on the forum are way better than any I took today, but I wasn't disappointed as I had good views and learnt a lot about digital photography from both John and Steve.
If it wasn't for the nearby reserve staff trying to meet their grant quotas for removing unwanted vegetation, sometimes with a chainsaw, the bittern would probably have come a lot closer - it's a shame they didn't work on something else whilst the Bitterns are showing. John did briefly see a second Bittern today, but I missed it. There were also Goosander, GC Grebes, Coot, Teal, Moorhens, Grey Herons, Mallards, some distant Gulls and a Sparrowhawk around the pools, but unfortunately no Kingfisher today.
Then we went on to see the Short-eared Owls. For a long time they were a 'no show' and unfortunately Steve had to go before two eventually appeared, quartering the field for prey. Although the light was starting to fail, It was well worth the wait just to view them through my binoculars. They stayed around for a quite a while and flew past several times, but I only got a few record shots as I'm still learning how to shoot such fast moving birds. A little later a third bird briefly showed. Finally, we moved up the field to get some more views of the SEO's which had reappeared a little further away, and we were treated to a good few minutes of a couple of Barn Owls flying around - the icing on the cake!
Many thanks to John and Steve for a great day out - they were both very friendly and helpful to someone who is keen to learn about birding and bird photography (me!)
Cheers lads, hope to see you again sometime.