I found myself awake at 4.30 and decided to have an early start in the Brecks. I went to a lovely place and connected with a super bird, a male golden pheasant.
I located it by its 'song' strangled call, it was on the track but always behind vegetation, I stealthily followed it through the dense undercover until it came to a crosstrack, out in the open it ran...fast! luckily I could see where it ran to. It then hopped up into a tree, had a preen and continued calling. Amazing scope views but always slightly concealed which made photography tricky, it did force me to learn how to use the manual focusing on my camera so not all bad. I spent about an hour with the bird, viewing it from behind a bush so not to disturb it unduly. No sign of any females, I wonder if it is one of the final birds in the county. (and dont ask me the location, I'm suppressing it, sorry!).
I had time for a cuppa and then got a text from Ron McIntyre informing me of a Great White Egret at Buckenham. Barely finished reading the text and I was out of the door, well it would be a new species for the reserve for me after all. Minutes later and on site a few scans yielded nothing, had it headed to Strumpshaw? I was almost about to head away when I locked onto the S bend of an egret, but it had a black bill. watching it closely I realised that it was the GWE, it was in breeding plumage. As it stood up out of the ditch I could see its legs for the first time, a beautiful raspberry pink hue to the thighs. It sounds as if they only come into the plumage for a few weeks a year. This was my first great white for the reserve and what a cracker. I watched it catching lots of food in the ditches for well over an hour studying and enjoying this rare plumage. Unfortunately it was quite distant and the heat haze did not help but the pics show what it looked like! Typically just as Justin L was coming up the track it flew over the wall, luckily he did see it in flight a few times.
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