I started my Birthday celebrations at the weekend with my parents in Norfolk, our countries finest county for birds. The weather was not great at all, but we still managed to find some great birds.
Highlight of the weekend was finally catching up with a Bittern at RSPB Titchwell. We'd tried in vein a couple of days prior, but I wasn't giving up, and I arrived at the reserve shortly before sunrise on our last day. I was the only car in the car park and everything was shut. The rain was coming down and I briskly made my way to the Fen hide where it had been seen on most days.
After 30 minutes or so and not long after the hail had stopped coming in I saw a rather large bird heading towards me in the hide from the reed bed. A cursory glance through the binoculars had me panicking. It was the Bittern! In flight! Coming towards (not away) from me!
Through the gloom, I managed to point my camera at it and did my best, but I was excited and was half looking at it with my other eye. Only the second time I've seen one, and my other sighting lasted 5 seconds.
I see this as a good omen for my years ahead. I've celebrated my 40th year with a shaky in flight shot of a Bittern. If I can get another one in the next 40, I'll be ecstatic.
After it landed, I lost sight of it. So well camouflaged in these reeds.