Saturday, 23 January 2016

Cattle Egret

It's often the case that something unusual turns up when you are least expect it.  I stopped for a quick look at the flooded Groody Valley on the eastern side of Limerick City late last Saturday afternoon to see what birds were still hanging around there.  The floods had attracted large numbers of gulls and some additional Lapwing, Little Egrets and smaller numbers of other wildfowl.  I was thinking that a Glossy Ibis might be a possibility given the recent influx of the species to the country and with the flood waters now largely gone there was some nice pools remaining and lots of very soft ground.  The first birds to come into view 200m away in the distance were two small white egrets beside a Cormorant sitting close to the edge of the Groody river.  I was surprised to see that one had a fine stout yellow bill and was in fact a Cattle Egret.

This is the third record for the species in the County, following on from the pair seen at Loghill in north west Limerick in January 2008 and a single bird, presumed to have been one of the original pair, a few kilometres to the east at Mount Trenchard, Foynes in March of that year.  These birds were part of an unprecedented influx of the species to Ireland and Britain in the winter of 2007-2008. The second record was one of five birds on the Camoge flood plain at Grange on 15/2/2013 followed by a report of two birds at nearby Lough Gur on 26/2/2013, presumably from that original group.

I was only able to get a few long distance records shots(last two below) in the poor light with a compact camera on the Saturday.  I managed to get a bit closer in better light later in the week.

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