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International interest in rare American bittern at nature reserve

PUBLISHED: 11:00 28 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:14 28 April 2018

The American bittern at Carlton Marshes - the bird has attracted birdwatchers from many parts of Britain and  many European countries. Picture: GAVIN DURRANT

The American bittern at Carlton Marshes - the bird has attracted birdwatchers from many parts of Britain and many European countries. Picture: GAVIN DURRANT

Gavin Durrant 2018

A United Nations of birdwatchers has continued to boost Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s fundraising for its expanded Carlton Marshes nature reserve, as thousands of visitors have converged on the site to see its mega-rare American bittern.

The trust’s site manager Matt Gooch said that a total of about 3,500 birdwatchers had been attracted to the marshes to see the transatlantic vagrant, including many who had returned time and again to enjoy the occasion.

“We’ve had visitors from Germany, Belgium, Holland, Poland, Spain and France as well as many parts of Britain who have come specially to see the bird,” he said.

“They’ve donated a total of more than £3,300 in the bucket collections, there’s been lots of online donations, we’ve had 20 new members sign up for the trust and we think there’s also been quite a positive impact for the local economy.”

American bittern is a species never before seen in Suffolk, with only a tiny handful of records in modern UK ornithological history. The bird is often treating its admirers to close views as it hunts for small fish in ditches near pathways and has been seen interacting with Carlton Marshes’ more familiar - but still scarce - great bitterns.

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