This morning we ventured into nearby Leicestershire to see a Night Heron which has been frequenting Thornton Reservoir for the past few days. We did manage to find the bird but unfortunately it was roosting up on the far bank, so views were ‘acceptable’ rather than ‘exceptional’. Night Heron are scarce visitors to our shores but respectably common, in suitable wetland habitat, across mainland Europe. The diffuse brown streaking on the neck and a few white tips to the coverts age the bird as ‘first summer’.
On our way back to the cottage this afternoon we called in at the Ouse Washes RSPB reserve for a second go at seeing the eclipse drake Blue-winged Teal, which we’d spent a wet evening on Monday missing. Today it was much easier as the bird had just been re-found, after a four hour absence, as we entered Stockdales hide. Although always distant, the bird did actively feed and preen, allowing reasonable views of the important identification features, including the powder blue forewing, the darkish cap with weak supercilium, pale loral spot and dull yellow legs. Blue-winged Teal are rare visitors from North America which often show up in Britain during the summer – and therefore in eclipse. What would I give to see an adult in fresh breeding plumage!
Now that’s more like it… only these were taken in Texas, in April, 2009!
Anyway, two more nice birds to add to the ever-increasing Year List.