21st January 2002

 

RARE BIRD MAKES A FLYING VISIT

 

An extremely rare bird – one of only 13 or 14 pairs in the country – has been discovered nesting amongst the wildlife at the University of Lincoln’s Riseholme Park.

 

The elusive bittern was spotted last week by a warden at the park at the same time an influx of birds was recorded on the east coast of England and was generating press interest with a bird even being spotted in London.

 

The warden notified Ian Birch, an instructor in Countryside Skills and Management, who has studied the bittern since it was first sighted.

 

“The bittern is a medium-sized heron which feeds on fish and amphibians,” commented Ian. “However, its brown cryptic plumage make it very difficult to observe in the wild, so it was a big surprise to find it nesting in the lake on Riseholme Park.

 

“The lake is managed for the benefit of both anglers and wildlife, so it shows that what we’re doing to look after the countryside is working.”

 

The bittern, which is also known as the ‘boomer’ because of its distinctive, foghorn-like call, was once a common feature of Lincolnshire’s wetlands but is now extremely rare.

 

The university’s Lincolnshire School of Agriculture offers a wide variety of environmental courses including Countryside Skills, Countryside Management and Applied Biology and Forestry.

 

For further information about courses come along to the university’s open day this Saturday 26th January. Contact 01400 275572.

 

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For more information contact: Jez Ashberry,

University of Lincoln

Tel: 01522 886042

email: jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk

 

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