Saturday, 14 January 2017

Caulcott: Cattle Egrets

Last weekend's BOS "short day count" produced a major bonus with the discovery of the first Cattle Egrets - a group of three birds - so far recorded in our area.  These birds have been attracted to an excellent feeding area - a field full of free-range pigs. It is very rewarding when you find something really unusual on your local patch and a was delighted for the finders as they survey the birds in this particular area regularly, adding a lot to our knowledge of local bird distributions. 
two of the three Cattle Egrets - the first to be recorded in Banburyshire
This morning I managed to catch up with them myself, and enjoyed watching the egrets feeding in very close proximity to the pigs, especially when the pigs were actively feeding in the mud and straw.  The egrets were able find some rich pickings including plenty of worms. 

These birds are part of a significant influx into the UK, the last time this happened (in 2008), a pair stayed on the breed successfully in Somerset, perhaps the same will happen this year?  Directions to see the birds, plus many nice pics and clips are to be found on the Oxon Birding Blog
This story also demonstrates the link between our food and local wildlife, and shows how supporting  local producers can help promote a more diverse farmed landscape in our area.
the piglets were delightful too!

The other ornithological event locally is the presence of a male Blue Rock Thrush in a suburb of Stow on the Wold.  Found over the Christmas period, it is a great rarity in the UK and has attracted huge numbers of admirers as well as much debate over it's origin.  I made the trip over to Stow after watching the egrets, and got some lovely views of the thrush as it sat preening in a favoured bush.
Male Blue Rock Thrush, Stow on the Wold

No comments:

Post a Comment