Lee Valley Regional Park tracks the elusive bittern

Lee Valley Regional Park tracks the elusive bitternOne of the rarest birds in Britain will be the centre of attention at Lee Valley Regional Park on Sunday 20 January 2013.Lee Valley Regional Park’s Conservation team is inviting wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers to help it track the bittern, an elusive reedbed dwelling bird. A free short guided walk through River Lee Country Park will be followed by a roost watch in the Bittern Information Point overlooking the picturesque Seventy Acres Lake.

The bittern, which became extinct in Britain in 1886, was enjoyed as a delicacy at banquets in medieval times. The reduction in the number of reedbeds, and the prolonged hunting of the bittern led to its disappearance, before the bird began to recolonise the Norfolk broads in small numbers 1911.

Lee Valley Regional Park Conservation Officer Dawn Richardson says: “River Lee Country Park regularly supports up to five overwintering Bittern and the Bittern Information Point is one of the best places to visit to learn more about these elusive birds and to try and catch a glimpse of one.

Over the past couple of years we have been carrying out works to enhance the reedbeds on Seventy Acres Lake and also to create additional refuge areas for small fish which are the perfect food for Bittern and other fish-eating birds. Recent fish surveys have found large numbers of small fish in the lake and particularly in front of the Information Point.”

The bittern’s numbers have been boosted over the past few years by a concerted conservation effort at sites across the country.

This event is free, with hot drinks and biscuits available to fight off the chill.

Participants meet at 15:30 at Fishers Green Car Park in River Lee Country Park. Please bring binoculars if you have them and wrap up warm. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to point out the birds and hopefully a Bittern.

If you do not have binoculars but wish to buy a pair, In Focus, a bird watching equipment retailer, will be at the Bittern Information Point from 10:00 16:00.Fishers Green Car Park is located at Stubbins Hall Lane, Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 2EF.

For more information on events in Lee Valley Regional Park go to visitleevalley.org.uk or call 08456 770 600.

Event date: 
Sunday, January 20, 2013 - 00:00