On Thursday while on holiday in Suffolk, a neighbour emailed me to say that Robert the head gardener at Howick Hall had seen a 'white heron' on the pond. There is a small heronry here so an albino is a feasible guess, but Julie, my neighbour, had been to check and she thought it was a Great Egret.
Bugger, a big patch tick considering the tiny amount of fresh water available here,but I was sure it would soon depart as there are a good few visitors to such a small pond. It was bound to be disturbed.
So as soon as we got home on Friday, I, er, had to walk the dog and headed straight down to the pond. Sure enough, there it was, an smashing adult Great White Egret complete with aigrettes down its back, roosting with herons on an overhead branch. It did a couple of flights around the pool but stayed up in the trees as I left.
A cracking bird for the list, but surprisingly, it is Howick Pond's 6th heron species with Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Night Heron, Grey Heron and Little Egret all recorded on an area the size of a football pitch! ( Well, in the last 150 years anyway...)
Although a GWE has been knocking around the Druridge - Hauxley area recently this bird looks different. Its beak is more yellow ( see here ) rather than the black bill of that bird...
Howick Patch List 193, 2013 List 111, Points 128.