18th March 2011
As with the previous week I decided to give Whitlingham a try on the Friday evening rather than wade through the crowds at the weekend. A Med Gull and Mealy Redpoll were both reported during the week, so I was hopeful of finding something interesting, maybe even an elusive Garganey, a bird I'm still missing at Whitlingham. Walking along the Little Broad I saw a Water Rail for the 3rd consecutive visit, but saw nothing else of note until the conservation area, where the two redhead Goosanders were still present and I got decent views of a Cetti's Warbler from the track down to the bird screen.
I could so easily have missed the bird of the evening. As I walked along the riverbank path I looked up and caught sight of a large brown bird flying off towards Thorpe Marshes. From directly behind the jizz was odd... and then it turned slightly side-on - a Bittern! Eventually I lost the bird behind some trees, but it appeared to have continued east towards Postwick. Possibly a bird returning to Strumpshaw from winter feeding grounds, or a bird prospecting for a new territory? When I got home I found that someone else had reported it, also in flight. A satisfying case of being in the right place at the right time!