Northamptonshire’s 6th Cattle Egret was found by Neil Underwood this morning, close to the site of last month’s White-fronted Goose grazing area alongside the River Nene, at Dunkleys, between Whiston and Earls Barton. Around midday it moved a few hundred metres to the south to a weedy field between Dunkleys and the newly-formed earth bank running alongside the new quarry conveyor belt.
In a winter notable for its Cattle Egret invasion it would have been surprising (and disappointing!) if Northants had not featured. Currently there are well over 100 individuals at large in the UK, most of which are in south-west England, although some have reached as far north as Lancashire.
A few digiscoped shots below. Lack of dark tip to bill (when not soil-covered) ages it as an adult. There have been 5 previous records, 4 of which have been in the same short stretch of the Nene Valley as this one. Previous accepted records are:
2006 Earls Barton GP, 11th-13th August 2008 Fotheringhay, 23rd February; Earls Barton GP, 30th-31st July 2009 Earls Barton GP, 27th-28th May 2012 Earls Barton GP, 1st-6th May