Rare bird joy for Doncaster’s Potteric Carr

A bittern
A bittern

One of the most threatened birds in the UK has bred successfully for the first time at a Doncaster nature reserve.

Staff at Potteric Carr are celebrating, because after many years of work, patience and careful observation, bitterns have successfully bred on the site for the very first time.

The birds are having a rocky road to recovery following their UK-wide extinction around 1885 – a result of habitat loss and persecution at the time.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserves officer Jim Horsfall said: “We are thrilled!

“Over the last three years male bitterns at Potteric Carr during spring have been making their characteristic booming sound, a call they use to attract mates.

“This of course gave us hope that one day we may see some young bitterns.

“Earlier this year there was much booming, followed by many sightings of adult birds, including what appeared to be some courtship flights, where a pair of birds fly together. Over time birders here then observed feeding flights through late July and early August yet it was still difficult to confirm breeding.

“However, earlier this month, a young bittern was seen for the first time.”

Mr Horsfall added: “This is a great success for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

It comes soon after YWT announced that marsh harriers had bred for the first time earlier this year at the Doncaster nature reserve.