American Bittern at Carlton Marshes, Suffolk

The best possible scenario is for us when business and birding can be linked. This is what happened today and gave us a peaceful evening birding at a new place we have never been, plus a life bird for Dani.

There might be some birdwatchers in England who have never seen the European Bittern but ticked the American Bittern first. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

This little canal or stream was the feeding location of the American Bittern this afternoon. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Roughly two weeks ago a mega American Bittern was found at the Carlton Marshes in Suffolk. It’s not too often this species can so easily be twitchable on a daily basis. When we entered Suffolk we didn’t really think we would have a dry birding. Torrential rain and massive flash floods on the highway predicted the opposite but we were lucky (again).

Luckily the bittern didn’t just walk towards us but produced some spectacular poses and views. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Sometimes it was impossible to see it behind the vegetation. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

It walked quite cautiously assuming it was invisible but about a dozen pair of eyes were watching this yankee bird. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

This is the 3rd record of the American Bittern in Great Britain in the last 20 years. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Carlton Marshes was completely dry and very birdy. After a good mile-long walking we found a group people excitedly looking at the same direction. It didn’t take long to spot the American Bittern feeding along a little stream opposite the wet grassland. The bird was lurking in the tall grass but occasionally froze in its typical upright position.

As it was just about 30 meters away we had cracking views through the spotting scope and again thanks to the brilliant optics from Viking Optical, we could enjoy all the feather details despite disappearing sunlight and slowly decreasing lights. We had a chance to compare it briefly with the big gun SWAROVSKI modular scope. There is a noticeable colour difference and the modular scope produced a crispier image, however, that doesn’t mean the Viking ED 80 Pro let you down in image quality. The real deal with the Viking ED 80 Pro is the optical performance at this price point.

Canada Goose couple with a few days old goslings. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Hunting Western Barn Owl over the marsh scared the American Bittern for a moment. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

It was a very entertaining aerial performance of this Western Barn Owl just in front of us. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Newly arrived Common Cuckoos from the wintering grounds were already very vocal and active. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

This scene tells everything about this stunning evening.

To make the story short, I leave a few photos of this mega bird. It is a lovely birding location with diverse habitats like forests, swamps-like willows, extensive reedbed or wet meadows with pools. The reedbed was full of Sedge Warblers but quite a few European Reed Warblers were singing as well. Surprise bird was 3 singing Common Grasshopper Warblers and stunning views on Common Cuckoos. It’s worth to explore Suffolk a little more.

This birding was kindly supported by Viking Optical. Thanks for this support!


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