05 April, 2016

Egrets, I've Seen A Few...

And I did it myyyy way.

No I couldn't resist.

Yeah, so I decided that the iffy weather on Sunday was right for a wild egret chase. [The Cattle Egret being reported nice and early didn't hurt, I admit..] [Ok, neither did the Osprey said to be headed there from the other end of the Exe]

So, over to Powderham, where I picked up a nice egret with a pale yellowish bill and a notable underbite* from my car as I drove past. This is what you call considerate, birds!

It was with a regular-flavour Little Egret in the western stubble field and I duly parked responsibly and yomped back up the road in the rain.

Yes, it was raining. This state of affairs only varied in intensity for the whole time I was there. [['Showers', my arse.]]

But I, mad seawatcher that I be, fear no rain; my scope is well-sealed and I had a waterproof!

Unfortunately, that mouse quote sprang to mind as while I was focussing said scope, something coming from the far side flushed everything [even the Pheasants] in said field, and I could only watch in vexation as the 2 egrets flew off towards the deer park, black legs trailing.

Hold on a minute.

Black legs?

Little Egret, regular, with black legs and yellow feets.
Pale-billed egret with black legs and feet.

So it's a young Cattle, then?

They weren't close together and the angles and rain were not kind. 

I cursed the weather and the timing and went off down the road after them.

Let's cut an hour of getting rained on short: No Osprey sulking in any tree I could see. No pale-billed Little Egret or whatever it is. No Cattle Egret of any leg colour. At least 5 regular Little Egrets.

There were Swallows, House Martins and a couple of Sandies over the Kenn. Also a Snipe flew into a rushy bit. It wasn't awful, but the birds I was looking for just weren't to be seen.

Eventually I started working back, and then, finally, through the Oaks...


Getting closer wasn't too bad, the problem was not just the trees [since when do egrets feed around big trees?] but the more mobile scenery;

Bladdy deer!
[Steep forehead and bill colour sort of visible]

Pale legs visible

 They didn't get better
So, one nice Cattle Egret. Mobile and often hidden behind trees/deer/both. I know this is a deer park, but it was ridiculous...
As you may be able to tell, the bird was heading away all the time, so these are it.

As for the other one?

The egret sp. had vanished.

Somebody with a better camera needs to find this bird. I'm pretty sure its a really odd Little [they can have dark feet sometimes], but there's the tiny speck of doubt. That head is irritating. Mostly irritating specks get removed, but just sometimes they form pearls.

I apologise for that one, but seriously, somebody find that bird and let us be sure.


[[*On a Cattle Egret, for example, the feathering under the bill extends markedly further forward that the forehead. An effect enhanced by the bird having a steep forehead and comparatively short thick bill. I call this underbite for what I hope is an obvious reason.]]

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