Monday, September 29, 2014

Great White Egret -- patch tick

Having lived in Barton for 33 years and birded here for 43 my patch list is not too bad at 258 species with a few notable rares but Great White Egret was becoming a thorn in the side after a few recent sightings that I typically missed out on; in fact 2014 was becoming a poor patch year as I had added only three species between the end of May and the end of August with several regular species missing not to mention having not seen the recorded Gyr Falcon, Terek Sand and Great White Egret so the last few days have been a bit better with only my second ever Barton Hawfinch, the first was in April 1983,   and a few expected additions like Grey Wagtail and Rock Pipit; on a murky and humid day a juv Gannet wandered up to the bridge this morning for a few laps of the Humber but my daily check of the local Golden Plover flock still failed to produce Dotterel or American Goldy (surely only time now) -- walking back to my car a white egret appeared over the quarry flying east; a casual glance to confirm it was a Little Egret was met with a striking bright yellow bill and long black legs! oddly it did not really look large to the naked eye being alone but it quickly dawned that I ought to wake up and have a better look at it-- got it in the scope as it dropped behind one of the innumerable and annoyingly omnipresent thorn hedges that surround all the clay pits but a quick jog saw it dropping into the blow wells ponds -- another sprint and formula 1 dash to Far Ings car park, out with the camera, only the 300mm lens on and no time to change it -- the egret was there standing in the pond but as I started to take a few distant images a local cob Mute Swan swam straight at the egret and in 30 seconds attacked it flushing the bird into the next pond -- another sprint and drive and I arrived just in time as a flock of Greylags flew in straight at the egret flushing it towards me, thanks but no thanks, so I blasted off two images before it went behind yet another hedge and in the next hour I failed to relocate it before the rain set in -- if they always receive such a welcome from the resident bully boys no wonder they don't stay around for long here
So a patch list addition but only the second in the last 4 years it gets harder -- and don't mention Spoonbill -- how can I possibly not have seen a Spoonbill here in 43 years?

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