Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Times They Are a'Changin'

11th October 2013

Absolutely right Mr Dylan! Just 20 years ago there were no Buzzards, Red Kites, Ravens or Little Egrets in Hertfordshire, but now are all doing well and, with the exception of Ravens which are a relative newcomer, are commonly seen in and around the county. Red Kites were introduced, Buzzards responded naturally to the increase in the Rabbit population and Little Egrets are a legacy of climate change, but I am not quite sure what caused Ravens to leave their hills and mountains for life in Hertfordshire.

The next coloniser could well be the Great White Egret which is starting to put in an appearance. I saw my first Great White Egret in Hertfordshire at Wilstone on the 25th September 2012 and, most amazingly, my second that same evening at Amwell. Well today I went to Tyttenhanger to see and hopefully photograph my 3rd.

The bird was first discovered on the 5th October and has been seen most days since and appears quite settled. Unfortunately I had a relatively short window of opportunity as rain was forecast by mid-day. As I arrived I met Robin Pearson who was just leaving and said that the bird was still present but elusive. Luckily, by the time I had walked round to the causeway the bird was showing well and feeding right out in the open. The main distinguishing feature of the Great White Egret, apart from its size, is it crocus-coloured bill as opposed to the black bill of the Little Egret.

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