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Blagdon Lake Birds

Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris (Linnaeus, 1758)

Bittern Botaurus stellaris stellaris (Linnaeus, 1758)

(Very rare PM & WV)


Bittern, Stratford Bay, Chew Valley Lake. 2nd March 2012.Bittern, Stratford Bay, Chew Valley Lake. 2nd March 2012.



  1. One, shot, 25th Dec. 1917 (D. Carr) see note 1.
  2. One, 18th Jan. to 26th April 1947 (E. Robinson. Ringed by R.H. Poulding et al.).
  3. One, 7th-21st Jan. 1951 (G.C. Buxton, B. King).
  4. One, 27th Feb. to 3rd March 1955 (P.J. Chadwick).
  5. One, 29th Dec. 1981 (Bristol Waterworks staff).
  6. One, 21st-31st Dec. 2002 (N.R. Milbourne et al.).
  7. One, 5th Jan. 2010 (M. Baber).
  8. One, 29th Dec. 2010 (N.R. Milbourne).
  9. One, 11th-12th Feb. 2012 (L. Delve, N.R. Milbourne et al.), presumed same 25th Feb. (N.R. Milbourne).
  10. One, 22nd Jan. 2014 (P. Williams), presumed same 13th-17th Feb. (P. Williams, N.R. Milbourne).
  11. One, 6th Nov. 2015 (N.R. Milbourne).
  12. One, 10th Feb. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne).
  13. One, 25th July 2023 (M. Hynam), presumed same 10th Aug. (M. Hynam & S. )



Note 1 Donald Carr wrote "There appears to have been a flight of bittern, as one was shot in a field near Locking Road, Weston-super-Mare, on Boxing Day; and one at Kenn, near Clevedon, about the same date. I have a record of another near Wrington, which I hope escaped. There is also one at Blagdon Lake."

There are several recent records, with two in 2010, which accords with a significant increase in the UK population and more particularly with the recent upsurge of breeding on the Somerset Levels.

Likely to be in areas of Phragmites but could be seen anywhere in freezing conditions, which is when they usually turn up at the lake.


Bibliography (sources of information):

  1. Blaythwayt, Rev F.L. (ed.). Report on Somerset Birds, 1947. Somersetshire Archaeol. & Nat. Hist. Soc.
  2. Chadwick, P.J. (ed.). Avon Bird Report, 1981. Avon Ornithological Group in Proc of the BNS 41:37-65
  3. Davis, A.H. Birds at Blagdon Lake 1963-1983. Bristol Ornith. 18: 102-116. Bristol Ornithological Club.
  4. Davis, H.H. (ed.). Ornithological Notes Bristol District, 1947. Bristol Naturalists' Society.
  5. Davis. H.H. (ed.). Ornithological Notes Bristol District, 1951. Bristol Naturalists' Society.
  6. Davis, H.H. (ed.). Bristol Bird Report, 1955. Bristol Naturalists' Society.
  7. Davis, H.H. (ed.). Report on Somerset Birds, 1955. Somersetshire Archaeol. & Nat. Hist. Soc.
Nigel Milbourne © 2009-24. All Rights Reserved.