Avon Estuary & South Efford Marsh

11am - 14.15hrs. Amongst others, including lots of black headed gulls, 4 Common Sandpiper on the estuary, 2 Greenshank, 1 sp Black Tailed Godwit, 20 Curlew on marsh. Of particular interest was the presence of 4 Cattle Egrets, having seen 3 there the previous day with Eric Wotten, as we cleared the track to the hide. Mike Passman's "Thurlestone Bay" Fishing Website contains some good information about the likelihood of these Cattle Egrets breeding in the area, which would be a first for Devon, I believe. 2 of the Egrets ( Photo attached), possibly both juveniles, came fairly close to the hide, one of them, as characteristic of juveniles, not yet showing the diagnostic yellow bill of the other.( this was the same as the other two more distant in the middle of the marsh) Both seemed to have downy plumage on the head. None of the cattle egrets on the marsh had the buff orange summer breeding plumage seen on other long staying adults at South Huish, until fairly recently. One of the more numerous Little Egrets( Photo attached) present came and danced on the pool in front of the hide giving good comparisons of the differences between the species, size, bill colour and shape, head shape, neck length, wing shape and leg/feet colours. All of the Cattle Egrets flew south down the estuary at 13.45hrs.

Cattle Egrets - South Huish Marsh - 24.7.17             
Cattle Egrets - South Huish Marsh - 24.7.17                              Little Egret

Posted July 24th, 2017 at 8:17 pm by David Pakes in Bird News