Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Sunday Surprise

I did a circuit of a number of local spots this morning and then later on arrived home with a page full of notes. There was even a tick for my non-existent British List, Lancashire List and Fylde List. “It’s all in your head” as Sue is fond of reminding me. 

I drove through Pilling with nothing much to see until I arrived at Damside where the resident Kestrel looked for breakfast along the roadside. 



I’d only driven a few yards when a Great White Egret flew fairly high across the road but heading out towards Pilling Marsh. This wasn’t the same Great White that’s been knocking around Conder and Glasson for months now, from where it has hardly ventured and where I saw it a week ago. Almost certainly this morning’s bird would be a new one and part of the influx of both large and small white egrets in recent months and days. 

From Lane Ends car park there was no sign of the Great White, just the usual couple of Little Egrets hunched alongside the ditches, a Buzzard to the west near Pilling Water and a Chiffchaff in song. A walk along the sea wall may have revealed the Great White but there was no time – other birds waited.

Great White Egret

At Fluke Hall two or more Chiffchaffs monotoned their name over and over but it was no contest against a newly arrived Blackcap singing loudly for all it was worth. There was a Song Thrush in song and a pair of Chaffinches prospecting the hedgerow. 


At Gulf Lane a check of the set-aside field where 18/20 Linnets and 2 Stock Dove still feed. There was another Kestrel here, not the one seen half-a-mile away at Damside. 

Behind the sea wall at Sand Villa were c1200 Pink-footed Geese, too distant and partly hidden by fences to spend time. 

There’s still a lot of water at Conder Green with just half-a-dozen Tufted Duck, a single Goosander, 2 Wigeon, 16 Shelduck, 30 Teal and several pairs of Oystercatchers to excite. There are without fail, one or two Little Egrets in residence. Today at the far side of the pool about 80/100 yards away and huddled against the bank was single small white egret which through the “bins” appeared to have a yellow bill. I’d already decided Cattle Egret when an always aggressive Little Egret confirmed it by chasing the other off and sending it into flight over the pool and then over the road towards the Lune marshes.

It was indeed a Cattle Egret, still something of a local rarity despite its multinational and still spreading status. I’ve seen Cattle Egrets in mainland Spain, the Balearics, the Canary Islands, Cyprus, Egypt, India and Africa, but never until now in Britain. With very recent multiple sighting here in the UK and even the North West, 2017 may be the long anticipated year of the Cattle Egret. 

Cattle Egret
At Glasson – 1 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Cormorant, 1 Goosander, 1 Chiffchaff. 

There were no Swallows or Sand Martins at Conder Green where one or two might have been expected over the pool or dashing north in the early morning. A drive down Bank Lane to the Sand Martin colony at Chris’ farm produced upwards of 120 excitable Sand Martins around the quarry face and over the water. 

Just half-an-hour later and on my way back from looking over the marsh to see just wagtails and pipits, there were no Sand Martins to be seen. The martins had moved on already - migration in action.

Meadow Pipit

 Back soon with more about birds, news and views on Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


Lowcarb team member said...

A great selection of photographs.
So good to see the Cattle and Great White Egrets.

Enjoy your Sunday evening, and good wishes for April.

All the best Jan

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pretty shots of all the birds. I especially love the Great Egret and the Cattle Egret. Happy Birding, enjoy the new week ahead!

Linda said...

How beautiful, Phil! What a treat!

David Gascoigne said...

I think it's a fairly safe bet that Great Egret will follow Little Egret to become relatively common in Britain, but I think the jury may still be out on Cattle Egret. Having said that, they are becoming more and more frequent in Ontario.

GreenComotion said...

Beautiful birds and snaps, Phil. The Pipit is a new one for me!
Have a Happy Day!!
Peace :)

Margaret Adamson said...

Good sighting and wonderful to see boththe Great and Cattle Egrets Phil

Stuart Price said...

Amazing to think how quickly the 3 species of egret have got a foothold in the UK..............

Gordon said...

Interesting as regards the cattle egret, good photo too , mate of mine in Oxford are has seen a few already this year !!
All the best Gordon.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

You always have such beautiful photos!

Fun60 said...

Terrific photos of the egrets.

carol l mckenna said...

Always a delight to see your bird photography and post ~ so knowledgeable and creative ~ thanks,

Wishing you delight in your days ~ ^_^

mick said...

An interesting list of birds for your morning. I especially like the photos of the kestrels. We have lots of cattle egrets here in Australia - I hadn't realized how many places they have spread to over the world.

Photo(Geo)grapher said...

Great shots!

Uppal said...

Enjoyed the display of bird shots!

Lea said...

All beautiful birds, but it is the Kestrel that I would really like to see in the wild.
Have a wonderful day!

colleen said...

My Virginia birds would like to meet your birds.

Felicia said...

a nice selection of birds spotted that day. That great white is beautiful

A Colorful World said...

Amazing kestrel...and great white egret. Wonderful post!

Les Fous du Cap said...

Très belle série. La Grande aigrette est aussi bien présente chez nous ;-)
Céline & Philippe

Kay L. Davies said...

Wow, Phil, the Great White Egret is wonderful, and the shadings on the kestrel are very well done, but I must say I love the Chaffinch best...that and imagining Sue telling you your non-existent lists are all in your head. :)
Hugs to both of you,

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