|Two nests found - the RSPB's Otmoor reserve |
AFTER an absence of more than 150 years, breeding bitterns have returned to Oxfordshire.
While the first booming bittern was recorded at the RSPB's Otmoor reserve in 2013, it was only with the recent discovery of two nests that it was established that breeding had taken place.
At Otmoor, which is near Oxford, the RSPB and the Environment Agency have been working together with an army of volunteers who transformed bare mud islands into a wildlife haven, planting more than 150,000 reed seedlings by hand over seven years.
Now the reedbed has matured, it is the centrepiece of the reserve which is also home to otters, marsh harriers and cranes.
Says the RSPB's Otmoor site manager, David Wilding: “We are delighted - we hope to hear bitterns booming here for years to come.
"We owe much of this progress both to a brilliant team of volunteers and to generous funding."
Agrees Graham Scholey of the Environment Agency: "The return of bitterns to breed is the icing on the cake of what has been a great habitat creation success story.”
No information has been given on whether the breeding was successful.