Could it be a cattle egret in amongst….the cattle?
On the 1st of October to everyone’s excitement, a cattle egret was sighted in the Boulderwall Fields in and amongst the cows (what a shocker). Since then, it has been seen every day. It isn’t the first sighting - three birds also passed through Dungeness on the 2nd June.
In the last 100 years, cattle egrets have undergone a large natural range expansion. They’re native to southern Spain and Portugal, tropical and subtropical Africa and Asia. But now they have expanded to South Africa where they bred in 1908 and the Americas where they were first sighted between Guiana and Suriname in 1877 - having supposedly flown / were blown across the Atlantic in a huge storm. However, they did not colonise either of these areas until the 1930’s. They then arrived and bred in N. America in 1941 and bred in Florida in 1953.
In Europe in the 1950’s they were seen to undergo a decline, but since then have colonised northwards reaching northern France and Italy in the 80’s. They were recorded for the first time in the UK in 1997 and bred in Somerset the following year. They are often seen in the UK as passage migrants and approximately 100 individual’s now winter in the UK each year.
And they haven’t stopped expanding their range which now stretches into Greece, Turkey and Russia…and south into Australia.
They are thought to be one of the most cosmopolitan bird species.... but I think they are looking for world domination.
Pintail – two on Burrowes pit on 17th.
Black-necked grebe – two on Burrowes pit at Scott hide on 17th.
Bittern – at ARC and from ramp at Hookers pits on 17th.
Great white egret – at Dennis’s hide, ARC and Denge Marsh on 17th.
Cattle egret – one in fields near Boulderwall Farm on 17th.
Glossy ibis – on hayfields at Denge Marsh on 17th.
Merlin – at Burrowes pit on 14th.
Avocet – on Burrowes pit on 14th.
Golden plover – at Burrowes pit and ARC on 16th.
Dunlin – seven on Burrowes pit on 17th.
Ruff – at ARC on 17th.
Little stint – at Scott hide on 12th.
Greenshank – on Burrowes pit and ARC on 17th.
Snipe – three on Burrowes pit on 17th.
Black-tailed godwit – at ARC on 13th.
Curlew – two at ARC on 13th.
Water rail – at ARC on 17th.
Knot – two on Burrowes pit on 13th.
Redshank – six on Burrowes pit on 13th.
Mediterranean gull – 1st winter at ARC on 13th.
House martin – flying over on 14th,
Swallow – small groups of three of four flying over on 17th.
Kingfisher – at Christmas dell on 17th.
Wheatear – one by entrance track on 17th.
Stonechat – at Christmas dell on 17th.
Black redstart – juvenile near toilet block on 16th.
Ring ouzel – five on new excavations side of bridle track from the ramp at Hookers pits on 17th.
Tree sparrow – on car park feeders on 17th.
Redwing – at ARC on 14th.
Goldcrest – at Christmas dell on 17th.
Raven – at Denge Marsh on 16th.
Weasel along entrance track on 17th.