An afternoon of sunny periods and scattered showers slowly developed into darker skies with more persistent rain. I followed the footpath from the clubhouse towards Rotunda Hide stopping for a few minutes at the viewing panel that overlooks the Bittern channel and reed bed located between the Double Decker Hide and Sanctuary Hide. No sign of anything significant so onwards to Rotunda Hide. A couple of Grey Squirrel were busily raiding nuts from the bird feeder while a few Common Teal dabbled in the shallows. After several minutes I decided to continue around the reserve but not before another stop at the viewing panel. Scanning the reeds I was drawn to a movement at the far end of the water channel so took a closer look with my bins. To my amazement there in front of me was a wonderful Eurasian Bittern frozen in a typical Bittern pose, bill pointing to the sky with two beady eyes peering back at me. I tried in vain to get my camera out of its bag as quickly and quietly as possible but the bird disappeared into the reeds before I could ready myself.
All in all a wonderful sight and to add icing to the cake I later noted a feeding Water Rail at the same location but viewed from Teal Hide. The newly excavated Bittern channel has lived up to its name and only a few months after its completion.