Nice story on the PA Wires, (and from Jen Walker at Leighton Moss) today about a Bittern being released back into the wild after a bad night in Preston (we've all had them).
When Jen sends me a pic of the bird I'll stick it on, in the meantime, the stock RSPB image above will have to do, courtesy of Andy Hay/RSPB/PA Wire.
Got the train into the city this morning, long before sun up, and Blackbirds, Wren, Robin, Dunnock and Song Thrush now singing away, with the odd Tawny Owl thrown in for good measure...
RESCUED RARE BIRD TO BE RELEASED
By Emily Beament, Press Association Environment Correspondent
A Bittern rescued after it was found walking along a road will be released into a nature reserve today, the RSPCA said.
The Bittern, one of Britain's rarest birds, was spotted by a member of the public in Bamber Bridge, Preston, Lancashire, and picked up by an RSPCA animal collection officer.
The bird was uninjured but considerably underweight, probably as a result of an inability to find enough food in the recent cold weather, the RSPCA said.
Staff at Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre near Nantwich, Cheshire, fed the bittern up on a diet of sprats to a healthy weight and it is being released at RSPB Leighton Moss nature reserve in Silverdale, Carnforth today.
The RSPCA animal collection officer who rescued the bird, Sonia Hulme, said: "This was a very special rescue for me as Bitterns are so incredibly rare.
"When I came to collect it I was stunned by how beautiful it was - I have never come close to such a rare species before and to be involved in its rescue and rehabilitation was a dream come true."
Dr Andrew Kelly, manager of Stapeley Grange said that for species like the bittern, every individual counted.
He said it was not clear if the Bittern was one of the breeding birds from Leighton Moss or one of the species' foreign visitors, which come to Britain to overwinter and escape colder weather on the continent.
Robin Horner, site manager at RSPB Leighton Moss, said: "The Bittern is certainly one of the UK's rarest birds, and its wonderful that this one has been found and looked after to allow it to be released back into the wild."
The Bittern, which lives in reedbed habitat, was once widespread across the UK, but stopped nesting in the UK in the 19th century after drainage of wetlands.
Bitterns recolonised the UK in 1911, when they were found breeding again in the Norfolk Broads, but were pushed towards extinction again in this country in the 1990s.
The species had its best breeding season for 130 years last year, measured by the number of "booming" males, whose distinctive mating call is a low-pitched, far-carrying "boom".
Some 75 booming males were recorded, mostly in the bird's stronghold of East Anglia, but also a handful scattered across other counties including Lancashire, Somerset and Yorkshire.
And here's the pictures of the Bittern as promised, by Mike Malpass:
The folk in the pic above are David Mower RSPB Leighton Moss nature reserve warden and Sonia Hulme RSPCA animal collection officer.
You can see a video report of the release here
Eyes to the skies everyone eyes to the skies...