3 Aug 2016

Purple reign. The prince of rails.

News broke over the weekend of a potential 1st for Britain being found at one of my old Suffolk stomping grounds - Minsmere! A Western Swamphen or Purple Swamphen aka Purple Galinue! The Western form is considered more likely to be a genuine vagrant than the Easter nform that is commonly kept in captivity. An Eastern bird turned up in Saltney, near Chester, a few years ago but was subsequently claimed to have escaped fro ma local collection although there was a lot of dubiousness about the manner of its recapture and the claims made by the 'owner' with the bird reported to have been re-relased soon after at a private fishing pond near Buckley. See here for my report and photo's. Note the Eastern form has a greyish head whilst the Western one has a blue head.

Anyway, enough digression,  I decided to drive down with Mark Payne for a look! Meeting up with Chris Griffin on site was a pleasant surprise as I hadn't seen Chris since our Fair Isle trip in 2015. The bird showed almost continuously whilst we were there feeding and occasionally preening whilst strutting around its chosen pool completely dwarfing the local Moorhens. With the weather being slightly damp I didn't bother with the camera but managed a few phone-scoped shots and video  through the telescope.

A great trip and a long, long time since I've been to Minsmere.

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