LOOKING FOR A BITTERN

Ancient Hawthorn with an Alder in the background, Chipping Moss.

THERE WAS NO SIGN OF THE BITTERN at Chipping Moss this weekend despite many hours searching. Shame, it is a rare bird in the ELOC area. I did see a few interesting things, notably a treecreeper with a flock of Long-tailed Tits, in an alder on the moss itself. Probably quite a good record there? Two Common Snipe, 14 Common Teal, 83 lapwings (over, west) and a female sparrowhawk were also here as well as a couple of reed buntings, Meadow Pipits, Greenfinches and a cormorant, which flew over going west. A flock of around 100 Common Gulls also headed west, probably a daily movement from Stocks and small groups of starlings flew towards the plantations on the fells north of Chipping at dusk. Two Brown Hares also sought sanctuary here from the sound of shotguns that filled the valley on both days. It would be easy to convince myself that the bittern has gone but I guess it will probably reappear next week, having tucked itself away somewhere out of sight. There are plenty of places it could hide on the moss. I also hiked up Pendle Hill on both days but just to the trig point and back and mostly in the dark on Sunday. The only birds seen up there were raven and golden plover both times and a few Red Grouse on Saturday. That's seven times so far this year. I wonder if I can keep it going?

ELOC year list: 84. Common Treecreeper