30 Nov 2021

Cattle Egret. New for the garden & patch list.

Despite being common on the Dee Estuary, and at nearby Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB, Little Egret is remarkable scarce on my local patch with only 4 records in 5 years living here. One of those was of multiple birds (3) seen flying past the study window so as a consequence its on the house and garden list! 

Cattle Egret is very scarce with most of the records coming from Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB (BMW) or Wirral. BMW is about 11 km in a straight-line from us and slightly north west. It was one of the last species I expected to add to the house list anytime soon!

Storm Arwen hit us hard Friday night and we lost power around 11 pm. Saturday morning dawned to devastation all around us. Apart from no power and a missing roof tile we escaped quite lightly but the garden was strewn with fallen branches. A neighbouring barn had lost its roof and many trees were blown over. Once the storm abated the weather became bitterly cold and as we didn't have power the central heating wasn't working. Trying to keep warm working in the garden I took a break, made a brew and took it up to the study to check on the gulls I'd noticed in the field opposite the house. Even without binoculars I could see one bird that stood out glowing white compared to the larids.

Getting the binoculars on it I was stunned to see it was actually a Cattle Egret and it was doing what Cattle Egrets do the World over! Hanging around with cattle and snaffling insects that they disturbed in the grass.

Cue panic as  I tried to get a record photo / video before the bird disappeared as all around us chainsaws were working removing fallen trees blocking the lane and that had fallen across power lines.

The bird stayed for about an hour before disappearing. I didn't see it fly but next time I looked up it, and all the gulls, had disappeared. A great local record and some reward for being without electricity for nearly 3 days. That puts the garden list up to 111 in 4 years of living here.

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