Forest Farm – 1 – Bitterns

I spent a few hours in the ‘doorless’ hide at Forest Farm yesterday, being so close to the city has its problems but it’s a great little spot and always provides something of interest. There had been at least a couple of Bitterns there over the last weeks and quite possibly three!

Other ‘good’ birds are always around and there’s surely no better place to see Bullfinch than here, they come down to feed put on the fence posts by walkers who use the area and are not at all shy. Green Woodpeckers are frequent visitors to feed on the ants in the grass infront of the hide and I’ve never failed to see Water Rail or Kingfisher whilst here.

Rather than photograph the smaller woodland birds today I stayed in the one hide for all the while I was there. If you’re not really focused then it’s easy to miss things and the Bittern spends most of the time deeply tucked away!

The first glimpse came after a few hours. One flew in from the north of the reserve and was visible for not more than a few brief seconds. Five minutes later the same bird came back and landed in the reeds to the left of the hide, again its entry flight, as visible from the hide , was less than five seconds. It was then a couple hours before we had a glimpse of the bird skulking within the reed bed.

A further hour and another bird, the third or was it the original one that had come in a couple of hours back?, flew into the reeds directly infront of us. It’s an ungainly entry but eventually it sorts itself out and slowly moves to the base, the only sign now being the reeds gently moving as it makes its way down.

I stayed on until last light, a quarter to seven, and two birds lifted themselves higher in the reeds twenty yards from each other and presumably settled down for the night. The last image in this post was taken at 12,800 ISO 1/200th f4 in very low light.



Filed under: Articles, Birds Eloquent Project, Diary EntriesTagged with: ,


  1. Nice colours on the last but one ,I’am always looking the other way when something appears!

  2. No noise on last one Tim, the D3 is excellent.

  3. Hi Tim,
    I was in the (very packed) hide at Foprest Farm when you got the shots of the Bittern perched on the reeds. Excellent shots, great light. We were really lucky that the bird perched so high up on the reeds.

  4. It’s hard to concentrate for all the time but I’m always afraid of missing the very thing you came for and it will happen, for me usually a toilet break behind some bush! It’s the same reason I have a camera with me at all times, that fear of missing something extraordinary.

    Ferry crossings are the worse, I can’t seem to go for any break, coffee, food and even hold out as long as I’m able. To leave your ‘post’ is a dangerous thing and when you get back to find a whale or something just passed by is THE most annoying thing. There’s also no good time to leave a hide as you feel sure five minutes later it will all begin to happen. It’s the curse of the photographer!

  5. Hi Ian,

    We were lucky that it flew in high and towards the front of the reeds and that the light was favourable as well. Great to share such moments as well, even if the hide was as busy as I’ve ever experienced. Thanks for checking in to the blog!

  6. Hi Trevor,

    The D3 has been a great investment allowing your day to extend far beyond I’d have ever thought possible. I used to teach that photography was all about compromises and that you can’t have it all, there was always a trade off for working on the parameter that you wanted and that the ideal was not possible. It seems with every new camera model those ideals are getting closer and closer. It’s extraordinary to think how we dealt with the limitations of mechanical cameras and films. It also heightens your respect for some of the really fine photography that was carried out pre digital by early bird photographers like the Kearton brothers, Oliver G Pike, Seaton Gordon and of course Eric Hosking!

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