Boom time for bitterns

Nature photographer David Tipling presents more of his stunning pictures – this time featuring that iconic East Anglian bird, the bittern.

This summer sees the 100th anniversary of Emma Turner's discovery of a bittern's nest at Hickling Broad, after it became extinct as a breeding species in Norfolk in 1868.

A pioneer of bird photography in Britain, she lived for much of her time on a houseboat on Hickling Broad. In 1911 she took some wonderful pictures of a young bittern close to its nest – her account of the discovery of this nest is in her book, Broadland Birds.

During the 1990s bitterns were once more heading for extinction in Britain. However management of our reed beds specifically for the bittern over the past decade has seen a revival in numbers and in 2010 the species had its most successful year since recolonisation a century ago. Males make a deep booming sound in spring so it is easy to make a census of the species. Of the 87 booming males across the country last summer, 62 were in East Anglia, particularly the Norfolk Broads and North Norfolk coastal reedbeds.

More of David's work and details of his photographic workshops can be found at His work can also be viewed at the Photographers' Gallery in Holt.

For more of his pictures of bitterns see the EDP Sunday supplement in this Saturday's EDP.