Monday, February 25, 2008

A spot of local twitching


© Mike Weedon

Assistant editor Mike Weedon writes:

I was out and about early on Saturday morning (23.2.08), searching for a Firecrest which had been seen a little north of Peterborough, when I got a call. Peterborough recorder Brian Stone had seen an egret fly past his house (just west of Peterborough) and was "as certain as I can be" that it was a Cattle Egret. Now, there have been loads in the country recently (perhaps 85 in total), but this was still something special for around here.

Brian declared that he was committed to going off to relocate the bird, but, though I made as encouraging noises as I could muster, this was surely wild-goose-in-a-haystack stuff. I had little hope for the poor fellow.

An hour later, though, and Brian was calling again. The bird was in a sheep field near Fotheringhay, Northants (but still in the Peterborough recording area).

So, when I got home, I rudely bundled the entire Weedon family into the car, delivered my daughter to her singing lesson and took Jo and Eddie on a Cattle Egret hunt.

Half an hour later I was hobbling as fast as I could in the direction of a distant Brian Stone. The egret was wandering around the fields getting bullied by butting lambs, and I never really saw it feed (so, it seemed likely to move on, soon). But it was there and very pleasurable on the eye.

A mere handful of hardcore Peterborian birders saw the bird, and another fistful of the Northants brigade – the bird was a county tick for the UKBS stalwart Bob Bullock. By midday, though, the bird was apparently seen by no-one else and there are one or two local birders left in a deeply-frustrated state of dipping anguish.

At the current invasion rate, though, surely the next Cattle Egret won't be long coming...

1 comment:

Born Again Bird Watcher said...

Are Peterborian birders anything like Praetorian birders?