Public hides don't really do it for me, and in my experience rarely produce what they promise. When I fist started, the dissappointment of sitting in the promisingly named 'Kingfisher' or 'Bittern' hide, and then seeing nothing more that a few mallards and some weeds put me off.
Well, this past couple of weekends, I've had another go and visited Lee Valley and its hides.
Last weekend I spent a few hours in a hide with Calum hoping to see Bittern. We did see one, but he was flying away from us. Then, this lovely fox arrived to explore the frost covered reed bed. It turned out to be one of a m/f pair that spent quite a while exporing the reed bed.
This weekend we spent a couple of hours in the Bittern Hide and sure enough, after 30 minutes, this super Bittern took a stroll right in front of the hide.
Lee Valley is said to contain 10% of the UK's wintering Bittern population.
I'm not sure about the statistic, but I've been to Lee Valley 3 times in 7 days, and seen a Bittern on each visit - that's pretty good odds I think..........