Saturday, 16 May 2009

Boom Time In The Marshes Of Kent

Some good new for a change, well good if you’re like me.

Being a member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), imagine my delight when I read this morning that a rare bird is attempting to breed at a reserve in my home county of Kent for the first time in more than 100 years.

It is the first time the booming mating call of the bittern has been recorded at the Dungeness RSPB reserve.

The Dungeness reserve, opened in 1905, making it the RSPB’s oldest, has been improving and expanding the reedbeds since 2002 thanks to a EU grant of £160,000, and it finally looks like it’s going to be payback time for their dedicated work.

Bob Gomes, site manager at RSPB Dungeness, said it was very satisfying to have a bittern, one of the UK's most threatened birds, staying to breed.
He said, "We've been working flat out to create suitable reedbeds on site. In recent years, we were rewarded by more bitterns wintering here, but they always left for Europe to breed."

For the uninitiated, the bittern, a heron like bird, is around 30” (75cm) tall and is specially protected.

The only downside of this story is, when these little Dungeness chicks reach adulthood they will each be designated a ‘Man of Kent’ and not a ‘Kentish Man’, like yours truly!

1 comment:

  1. I'm really pleased to hear that George! We have bitterns here in Norfolk and it's wonderful to hear that they're finally moving further afield (or should that be a-marsh!). I've got to confess that I've never heard a bittern but Adam worked as a Broads Authority volunteer for some while and said that the boom is extremely eerie - particularly when it's dusk!!!