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Great Bittern in a blizzard

By dewie    
My first post for a long time, will try and post more regularly now!

It was taken in the winter of 2010/11, when there was a cold snap just before Christmas. Great Bitterns regularly overwinter at the London Wetlands Centre, but it is only when the water freezes over that they become more conspicuous as they are forced out of the reedbeds to look for food. The day before this, I had enjoyed fantastic close views of them in front of one of the hides there. I returned the next day, and settled down in the hide. There wasn't much activity close to the hide for a while, and then the heavy snow set in. It was unlike anything I had experienced in London before, but really gave the photographs something special. At times it was so heavy that the camera's AF struggled to lock on to the bird, preferring instead to focus on the falling snow! My dad was meant to be picking me up, but he was worried that because of the heavy snow, if he left it too long he wouldn't be able to, so he came back early to get me. Just before I had to go, I turned to see this bird stepping out of the reedbed, and onto the ice. It summed up the environment they were living in perfectly, showing the habitat and weather conditions they have to endure. It was the last image I took of the day, and turned out to be my favourite of all. It was also the last time I saw the birds so well until the last winter, when the cold weather again had the same effect.

I am delighted to say that this image has been highly commended in this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition!

Thanks for looking

Tags: Snow Winter Ice Blizzard Reeds Wildlife and nature Great bittern Oscar dewhurst Botaurus stellaris

Voters: rontear, clintQB, gwynn56 and 1 more

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rontear Plus
15 8 8 England
28 Aug 2012 9:42PM
Hi Oscar,
I am so proud to have met you in Richmond that day some time back. Congratulations on the H/C in Wildlife POTY, you desrve it !! Good to see you back on EPZ, your photography is getting the recognition it deserves !!!

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dewie 8 9 United Kingdom
28 Aug 2012 11:24PM
Hi Ron,

Thank you very much! I'm so pleased about it. Are you going to be at Richmond this year?

rontear Plus
15 8 8 England
29 Aug 2012 8:22AM
Hi Oscar,
I will certainly try, but we are in Africa during October so may miss the rut. We will have to meet sometime soon, I'll let you know if we are in the vicinity.
SueEley 11 279 96 Wales
2 Dec 2012 5:13PM
Very nice shot. Really atmospheric! Like the landscape format, too.

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