Booming bittern back at reserve

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A RARE bird has been spotted at a Barnsley nature reserve.

The bittern has taken up residence at the RSPB Old Moor reserve, and has been entertaining wildlife enthusiasts with his distinctive booming call.

The bird spent the winter at Old Moor, but earlier this spring was only heard making the call - which sounds like someone blowing over an empty bottle - a handful of times before taking his quest to find a mate elsewhere.

Now the bird has returned to the reedbeds of the reserve, hunting for a suitable breeding partner.

Bittern numbers in the UK crashed to a low of just 11 males in 1997, and the reserve is part of a nationwide programme to bring the bird back from the brink of extinction.