One Pure White Long Neck

I have been checking the Sussex Ornithological Society’s website morning and evening, waiting for a rare bird to turn up (which it shall, with it being the autumn passage season) and finally one turns up not too far away from us. It was a Great White Egret, a bird that I regularly see in Africa, though have never seen in the UK before. The only problem was that the sighting appeared on a Monday, a school day, so I had to persevere a whole week of worrying whether it was still going to be there.

On Saturday morning it looked good, there was no reports of it having left on Friday (though none to suggest it was still there) and we set out just past 8 am. When we had nearly arrived I looked anxiously out of the car window to try to spot it early on, but in vain. I did get a mild shock when I misjudged the distance between me and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull, however apart from that there was no sign of it so far.

To my surprise there were only two people at the car park next to the hide, they seemed to have arrived much earlier to try to snatch a glimpse of this elegant bird. Our visit started out with a bit of horrible luck, as the Great White Egret had just flew away and rounded a bend only a few minutes before we arrived. This meant we had time to look at all of the other birds that were visible from the hide: a pair of Mandarin, Cormorants, several Green Sandpipers, a possible Common Sandpiper, Snipe, Lapwing, Mallard, Little Egret, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese and Grey Herons. While we were watching a trio of Green Sandpipers on the far bank we all received a pleasant surprise, the Great White Egret had flown silently on broad wings underneath the view of the scope! It landed half-visible to the left of the hide behind an overhanging shrub and I hastily took a few pictures. It seemed these weren’t needed, as the Great White Egret regularly flew right in front of the hide and along the far shore! Once I even took a photo of it flying behind a Kingfisher perched on a post, which I only realised when I arrived back home!

Spot the Kingfisher!

Spot the Kingfisher!

Egret flyby (cropped)

Egret flyby (cropped)

Saturday Morning Goes Off With A Quack

At about 8 am this morning, I was watching three Common Woodpigeons quarrel over some seed when two medium to large birds flew over. I thought that they were just going to carry on, but to my surprise they landed in our oak tree, about 10 metres high. At that point I was still not sure what they might be, though when they landed in clear view on a thick branch, I almost got the shock of my life: they were Mandarin Ducks, one male and one female!
I have never seen a male Mandarin in the wild before (I have seen a female down by Hedgecourt), so that made it even more exciting. I had been doubting ever seeing a male Mandarin even at Hedgecourt, let alone up a tree in my back garden!
The feedback I have received so far from iSpot didn’t contain much new information, though I am still waiting for other people’s theories. These are 2 of the comments:
1. Wortmaggot said: Maybe just taking a break between ponds. Or just on the look-out for new ones.
2. DD said: They’re hole nesters so looking for a nest site. They do like to be close to water so perhaps it’s an inexperienced pair.
I hope that I get more comments, and when I do I will post them here!

Aix galericulata

Aix galericulata