Dolium caeruleum

American Bittern, Amerikansk rördrum, Amerikansk rørdrum

Blue barrel (doleum caeruleum) in Bygholm Vejle near Kraptårnet.

This spring Denmark has enjoyed the visit of a very special bird. An American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus). The bird was recognized among a couple of our ordinary bitterns (Botaurus Stellaris) and since this species hasn’t been this way since 1961 its evident that this time around it caused some trafic on the spot. A rush of visitors to Bygholm Vejle, situated at the eastern parts of the Limfjord, Northern Jutland.
Actualy within a mile from the spot that housed a Gold Trush a month or so earlier.
But this time there is a problem.
Very few people has actually seen the American guest. One or two. The bigger part, the rest and that includes, its safe to say, all people that belongs to the hot-hundred of the Danish twitchers, have only heard the creature.

Or they say that they’ve heard its drumming sounds in the belly black night of Northern Jutland. Hundreds of people went there and spent the nights standing in line and side by side near the spot that it was said to host and listend patiently into the black of the night. 

Hands behind the ears, waiting in quiet. Hushing the poor fool that didn’t keep his feet in place, the ones that rattled their clothes not the mention the guy that had the notion to talk.
They were quiet listening into the night.
People spent hours and hours this way. Many of them with no luck, but quite a few said they heard it.
And as one can imagine its really up to once own state of mind to deside weather you've heard it or not.
It a test of your ethics. A question that pushes your very personal morals to the limits when you are the one to deside if you’ve heard it too when the guy next to you says he has.

It must have been tough one.
Luckily record shows that all top-twitchers in this country are amoung the selected ones that was in the right spot at the right time, and heard the drumming of denmarks second American Bittern.
And that is a bit of a luck. A bit of luck as statisticly you can tell, it could easily had been different and now theve all heard it, the incident is not causing any mayor shifts in the twitchers list of who’s-the-best in this country.

Now we can break the news and reveal the real idendity of the American guest and with all rights saved exclusively for Birds of Denmark and its readers, show the stunning pictures.

Supervisor and I had no doubts. This blue barrel in Bygholm Vejle, produces the sound of an American Bittern drumming when a calve, or a cow tries to drink there touches it with its horns or forehead. 
We heard it the two of us and simultaniously. It produces the drumming sounds like that of the American Bittern.

The truth is that this hole Bittern business has caused the supervisor a couple of sleepless nights. And even now in August nearly two month later when we went to the location together he still talked of the possibillity of hearing the creature.
We might just hear it in August. It's not impossible at all
, he said so more than once during our driving. And then when we were standing at the exact spot of interest. There it was. We heard it simultaneously . No doubt in our minds. 

The supervisor was dumbfounded, stupefied.
Had it been dark, the sounds produced in this barrel could have made us a couple of happy twitchers. 

Going there next time I will make tape-recording of the sounds and have them sent to the Danish rarities community.

ed. Aug 2001. photo: Nikolaj Steen Jensen