If you have never seen a bittern, don't miss out on the bittern bonanza that is happening at a wetland near you, right now. With all of Northern Europe frozen solid, there has been a big movement of all sorts of birds into the UK. Of course, the North of the UK is also frozen pretty solid, so that means even more birds for us.
A bittern has been hanging around Barford Road Pocket Park for over a week. Why not top up your Tesco points and your Christmas bird list at the same time? The park, which is managed by the Rangers from Paxton, is just behind Tescos in St Neots. It is usually a good place to see grey wagtails, skylarks, snipe and stonechats in winter.
Another Bittern has been seen at our Washout Pit and along the river by the boats. The lakes are likely to be frozen, but the reeds provide cover for roosting and the chance of a meal. However, streams and rivers nearby will not be frozen so your best chance of seeing one is when it flies from the river bank back to the reed-bed.
The bird tables are really busy at the moment. Bramblings are a real possibility among the chaffinches. Keep looking!
On a personal note, I still have not seen a waxwing on the reserve, but recent sightings in St Neots (and everywhere else) must make it a likely prospect.
On an even more personal note, I have been off work for the past week while my wife has had an operation. I want to say a big thank-you to our Rangers and all the volunteers who have made sure that everything has gone well in my absence.
Have a really good Christmas. Let's all get together on New Years Day when I'm aiming to put at least 50 species on my 2011 bird list on the first day, all at Paxton.