Although I have seen Bittern on Elmley before they are more commonly associated with places like Dungeness and Stodmarsh which have much larger reed beds. They are usually seen from some distance flying low across the tops of the reeds. So to have a close encounter like this where the bird is a mere 5-10 meters away is something of a rarity. Needless to say once word got out this elusive bird began to attract quite a crowd of people all hoping to get a glimpse.
Every now and again I could just about make it out straightening its neck up to look around and slowly moving around the ditch it was situated in. Despite being so close at times it was still difficult to see, which is testimony to its excellent camouflage. Eventually it had to break cover to move to the adjacent ditch. I was then able to make a series of shots as it briefly crossed the path out in the open.