British Birds Photograph of the Year 2003
Awarded August 2004
Just pipped at the post in this year's competition by Jens Eriksen's pair of juvenile Spotted Eagles in
Oman, this male Little Bittern was photographed feeding along a quiet backwater between the
"Inland Lake" and Kalloni town, Lesvos, Greece, in early May 2003.
See British Birds, August 2004, Vol. 97, No. 8, pp. 385-396 for full details of the competition and the
winning photos or click on www.britishbirds.co.uk/results.htm.
After an overnight influx of Little Bitterns, half a dozen birds were out feeding along a 200-metre
stretch of the channel. The activity of this bird caught my eye, and I managed to catch up with the
action just in time!
More often seen feeding on tadpoles and insects, this Little Bittern suddenly pulled a plump Tree
Frog out of the water and had little trouble demolishing this sizable meal! The outstretched Tree
Frog is almost as long as the bird's body!
You might have thought that one wholesome, crunchy Tree Frog would be enough for the time being,
but two minutes later the Little Bittern disappeared into the vegetation and came out with a largish
lizard which it also gulped down with ease!
Admittedly, it did then sit around quite still and quiet for a while!
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