Love is in the air at Old Moor

THERE has certainly been love in the air at the RSPB’s Old Moor nature reserve. Well, love in the reedbeds at any rate.

Conservationists are delighted that rare bitterns have been putting their knowledge of the birds and the bees to good use and starting families at the site near Wath.

Two bittern nests have been found this year for the first time and twitchers are hoping for the patter of tiny bittern feet.

Bitterns - a large brown bird similar to a grey heron - were hunted to extinction in the UK in the late 19th century but have been making a comeback thanks to conservation work, though they are still very rare as they rely on reedbeds which are scarce in this country.

Site manager Ali Blaney said: “This is an amazing moment for the site. We have been working hard to create exactly the right habitat for bitterns to breed and this is a brilliant result.

“We have at least one returning female along with our resident male, which means our reedbeds have the right conditions for these rare birds.

“Just like any new mothers, the female bitterns have a strict feeding routine for their young, and so we’re asking visitors to be respectful of the new families. The reedbed path has been closed to stop any disturbance of the nests, but excellent views of the feeding flights can be seen from other viewpoints on the reserve.”

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