Sunday, 17 August 2014

Cattle Egret

I first saw the reports of a Cattle Egret at Marsh Farm near Sidlesham whilst I was away on holiday. I had seen one once before but then my pictures were analysed by experts at Birdguides who decided that it was actually a Cattle/Little Egret hybrid. Click here to see details. I had been feeling guilty about ticking off the Cattle Egret on my life list so seeing this bird was a high priority.

Fortunately it was still around when I got home. It looks like a juvenile and has probably been displaced from the near continent. It will be interesting to see how long it stays around. It has four separate dairy herds that has been moving between so it clearly has plenty of food. It will probably take a good frost to see it heading off south again.

Cattle Egret

I went looking for it late Sunday afternoon and found it in a field just south of Marsh Farm. The herd was close to the edge of the field so I had reasonable views. The bird seemed quite happy in amongst the cows but it was keeping an eye on me and moved away if I got too close. It seems strange and a little sad, that it should be so comfortable moving around under the feet of the cows and yet is wary of people coming close.

I had about half an hour viewing the bird before the farmer opened a gate at the far end of the field and the cows began moving over in that direction with the Cattle Egret staying in close attention. They were probably heading for the milking parlour. I am not sure if the bird will be waiting outside for them or if this is when it relocates to one of the other herds.

A look that says you are getting too close

Walking back to the car I found five Wheatears flying along the rocks on the south side of the North Wall. After about twenty minutes I had still not managed to get a decent picture of any of them but I did see the unusual sight of three Black Swans over in White's Creek.

Originally from Australia and with all of the birds in the UK descended from escapees, there are probably now more pairs of Black Swans breeding in the wilds of the UK than there are of many of the rarer birds on the UK list. I have seen estimates of forty or more breeding pairs which must start to put them close to a self sustaining population.

Black Swans

Its nice to see one bird population that is not in decline.

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