Oscar Dewhurst – Bittern and Marsh Harrier

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Oscar writes: When I spent some time at Minsmere in the spring of 2014 one of the things I saw but never managed to photograph was the confrontations between Bitterns and Marsh Harriers. Whenever a Marsh Harrier hunting over the reed bed happened to pass near a Bittern’s nest the latter would shoot up out of the reeds and go for the harrier. I was never quick enough to catch this on camera, but luckily in my first week this year I got it!
Nikon D800, Nikon 600mm f/4 AF-S II lens, Nikon 1.4x TC
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9 Replies to “Oscar Dewhurst – Bittern and Marsh Harrier”

  1. What a stunning, amazing image ! It sums up 50 years of conservation effort and is a picture I'd like on my wall for the times when I'm despairing over agriculture, fracking, hen harriers etc !

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  2. A really great picture. I well remember,a few years ago, when monitoring lapwing chicks out the grassland on our Cheyne Court Romney Marsh reserve, watching a Bittern and Marsh Harrier aggressively confronting each other for at least five minutes. My wife whose twenty five years as magistrate has given here an exact recall of detail will remember the incident better than I, but as I remember, every time the MH approached the Bittern's nest, the Bittern would spring vertically a long way upwards out of the reedbed at the MH. As if it were on a trampoline.

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  3. Being a moorland man I have only seen Red Grouse do this to both Short eared Owl and Carrion Crow. It is usually the male Red Grouse that does this as they look after the young together. Sadly, never had the chance to witness the grouse doing it to a Hen Harrier but I am sure it will do given the chance!!

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