3 individuals of the Great Bittern (Botaurus stellaris) – which are named Eurasian Bittern, too – can be seen now already for several days. The Bitterns obviously winter on the waterworks in the Schiersteiner pond area near Wiesbaden. At least three specimens could be seen on a beautiful, mild winterday on the January 17, 2014 between 10:00 to 12:30.
Already at the last weekend some birders were on the site. But the sunshine on the January 17 seduced the Bitterns to leave their dense habitat in the middle of the reed and to show very exposed on the fringes to the waterline. Good time to photograph very well. Patience of course is still needed. Some individuals are stationary at this site since at least the 31 December 2013. On the first observation day 1 Bittern could be seen on the pond system III (the easternmost). Afterwards it was seen landing on a gravel island, on the so-called “Lagoon”. Also on the January 17, a Great Bittern flew from the pond system III to the gravel island in the “lagoon”, checked the situation from as short as 15 meters behind the fence and disappeared in the reeds afterwards.
When I arrived at around 10:00, a thick downpour had just cleared and the sun broke through the clouds. 2 Bitterns could be seen freely on the northernmost of the pond basin system III at the reed edge. They were sunbathing. But the distance was unfortunately still far. A little later another Bittern appeared on the southern pond of the basin system III at the reed edge. This Bittern also started sunbathing. Then suddenly, obviously it felt threatened – as visible on the pictures in the gallery– by an imaginary (nothing was seen) air enemy. But then it calmed down and remained on the spot until the departure to the “lagoon”.
In the morning it had rained, only around noon the weather improved. It may be assumed that the Bitterns want to let the feathers dry in the sun and therefore sit exposed at the edge of the reeds. Anyway, there were more than enough options to observe and to photograph. For this chance I had been waiting for a long time.
Photographic opportunities for Great Bittern photography are limited. You hear often that you should go to Eastern Europe (e.g. Hungary), as in these sparsely populated countries more nature landscapes are still present and so animals find particularly good living conditions. In principle this is true. But also in these countries you must seek and find the special places to go. Otherwise, you cannot operate wildlife photography successfully. Additionally, hunting in these countries is much more intense than in Middle Europe, which results in long flight distances of these birds. Since the bitterns usually pursue a life in hiding reeds and probably are more active at night, an encounter outside the winter half of the year is rarely possible.
If you are also interested in seeing the bitterns and live in the Rhine -Main area, do not hesitate to go there. The current position
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