15 January 2014

Little Bitterns – Alba Marsh (Bahrain)

Nicole and I ring mainly at a small marsh on the east side of Bahrain. The marsh is less than one kilometre square, possibly half this size and comprises areas of deep water and extensive phragmites reed beds. There are a few scattered tamarix bushes within the marsh and wet areas with muddy edges near the sides. Many areas are too deep to access but we have a small area were it is possible to set nets. Reed cutters come every weekend to cut reeds for their animals and this helps maintain the marsh in a suitable condition to ring as the reeds grow extremely fast and swamp the area in a very short time if not cut. The marsh is good for typical marsh birds with herons numerous. The Indian Reef Herons and Little Egrets have yet to be caught but we have started to catch a few Little Bitterns. They are relatively common on the marsh and are seen almost every visit, particularly just after first light. Below are photographs of two male Little Bitterns we caught last weekend and photos of a female can be seen in my last post on ringing at the marsh.