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Bittern, Backwell Pond

60019 Bittern

Year bird 122, which just keeps me in the top 50 lists for 2010 on Bubo. This individual gave me the best views ever of Botaurus stellaris, standing right at the edge of reeds across a narrower stretch of the pond. In fact, stellar views. I wonder if the species is so named for the little, almost bird-foot patterns on its plumage. They do also look like how a child would draw stars.

As part of the heron family, bitterns now appear after ducks and so on in the IOC taxonomy, but really only by virtue of the Anatidae zooming so far up the order. More locally, the ibises and spoonbills also now precede the Ardeidae, compared with their positions in the Collins Bird Guide.

So, always nice to know, eh? Not that this morning’s bird could have given a toss, even in the face of a newly more ancient male goosander that also graced the pond. A stellar cast indeed for such a umble pond – umble in the sense of Uriah Heep, not Kate, you understand.

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