There aren’t too many birds on the British List with the colour purple in their name. Two are incredibly rare Purple Gallinule and Purple Martin. Then there is the more regular Purple Sandpiper – a scarce winter visitor to the rocky coastline of Britain and finally, Purple Heron – rare adult spring over-shooters or post-breeding dispersing juveniles. Today a very late bird was reported as a ‘possible’ over Cley and then later as ‘confirmed’, on the Wells side of the fresh marsh, at Lady Anne’s Drive, Holkham. When we arrived in the car park there was no sign of any birders; we watched the huge flock of Pink-footed Geese for a while, keeping a eye on the sky for a possible fly over, but nothing. Jane then took a stroll towards the pine belt and bumped into RM and a couple watching over the marsh. They had met the two guys who had originally phoned the bird in and shown them the place where it appeared to land – things looked promising. It wasn’t long before another birder spotted a ‘brown heron’ by the edge of a reed-filled dyke about 300m east of us. A few moments of anticipation and then out walked a superb juvenile Purple Heron. Very nice and completely unexpected – still it has been a funny old year!
A few record shots