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Rare bittern bird caught on camera at Willow Tree Fen nature reserve, part of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

One of Britain's loudest, yet most secretive, birds has been spotted at a nature reserve.

Willow Tree Fen, between Bourne and Spalding, is now home to bittern.

Bitterns are very secretive and live deep in reedbeds where they are extremely well camouflaged.

A bittern was captured on camera at Willow Tree Fen
A bittern was captured on camera at Willow Tree Fen

During mating season the male’s booming call can sometimes be heard but the notoriously camera-shy birds are never seen.

However, it was a proud moment for the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, which runs the nature reserve, last week as one bittern was captured on camera.

“We are incredibly proud to have had our first breeding pair of bitterns at Willow Tree Fen last year, and to be part of the growing success story for what is still one of the UK’s rarest birds,” a spokesperson said.

“From a low of just nine males in the whole country in 1997, there were around 250 breeding males in 2023.

“For this elusive species to be breeding on a nature reserve we took on as arable land and started managing for wildlife less than 15 years ago is really exciting.”

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