Friday, 25 September 2009

Local birding: Great White Egret, Brockholes Wetland LWT, Lancs - 25th Sept 2009.

With the exception of actually finding the bird, there isn't much more of an ornithological buzz than connecting with a local patch MEGA, and this was certainly the case today as all hell broke loose mid-afternoon when Brockholes regular Carl Partington contacted me with news to say he was watching a GREAT WHITE EGRET on the adj River Ribble below Redscar Weir!!!!

The GWE initially shared this area with a Little Egret, which slipped away unnoticed as all attention was firmly on the magnificent GWE.

The Great White Egret would feed for c20 mins then take flight of its own accord to another area, and was seen on the reserve proper as it landed on the wet meadow scrape, Sludge tanks and No2 and No3 Pits briefly before returning to the Ribble NE of the site around Redscar/Tunbrook Woods, eventually returning to the favoured area of river, the gravel beds downstream of the weir at the NE end of the reserve where it remained giving great scope views until 16:55 when it took flight and flew strongly and distantly SW downstream.

This awesome bird was the total package in that it was also colour ringed. Details have been sent off and the history of the bird will hopefully be posted in due course.

Amazingly, the finder of the Brockholes GWE, Carl Partington, was watching this same colour ringed individual at Banks Marsh on the Ribble Estuary y/day afternoon (24th), and it is NOT the same bird as that seen on the Ribble Marshes and roosting at Naze Pool, Freckleton, c1 week ago from what I can see from photos on Colin Bushell's blog showing an unringed bird. I assume this unringed bird is indeed the same individual which relocated to Leighton Moss RSPB, Lancs/Humphrey Head, Cumbria.

Many thanks to Carl for the initial text which enabled c20 birders to connect with this awesome beast of an Egret at Brockholes, the first site record for the reserve! - What a spectacular bird, thank goodness I was local today!!

With Avocet, Red-necked Grebe, Fulmar, Red Backed Shrike and now Great White Egret added to the site list so far in 2009 (and i've managed to see them all!!), what new addition will be next I wonder? Well, as always the site is screaming out for the first Spotted Crake.... my tip every autumn!

Other notable birds onsite today included the delightful juv Black-necked Grebe still present and a Green Sandpiper.