Northamptonshire’s fifth Cattle Egret was discovered in yesterday’s late evening gloom in the grassy surrounds of the RMC pit, just across the road from Summer Leys reserve. It did not remain there for any length of time, promptly vanishing before the arrival on site of a small number of would-be observers. Fortunately it was back again this morning – firstly in the partly flooded sheep fields opposite the mill at Hardwater Crossing, then on the north side of Hardwater Lake before returning to the area where it was initially discovered and seems to favour. The photos below – kindly supplied by Bob Bullock and Neil Hasdell – provide a nice comparison between this rather flashy bird with the somewhat plain Little Egret.
The four previous records have been of birds out of breeding plumage and three out of those have also been at Earls Barton GP/Summer Leys LNR. The previous records are: Earls Barton/Summer Leys 11th-13th August 2006, Fotheringhay 23rd February 2008, Earls Barton/Summer Leys 30th-31st July 2008 and again at the same locality on 27th-28th May 2009.