It takes a certain kind of person to enjoy being sprawled on a muddy embankment, but I found myself doing exactly that with three other birders today. We were admiring a cattle egret – an unusual bird to see in Britain, though it’s been more frequent in recent years.
I’d headed down to Lydney earlier this morning, determined to see the bird I’d dipped on last week, with a better idea of where to look than last time. I strolled down the embankment which runs alongside the river, scouring the neighbouring fields – but saw nothing. At the end of Aylburton Wharth I turned rounded and meandered back, even more slowly.
On the way back I bumped into Peter and Leslie, whom I’d first seen at Slimbridge a few weeks previously, and we all bemoaned our luck, although they’d seen it the previous day. As we did so we saw a white bird glide across and land in a nearby field with cattle – and saw Allan Chard, who was by the field, waving eagerly to us.
We joined him and watched the egret weave between the cattle. Unlike it’s fishing cousin, the little egret, the cattle egret prefers large insects – and a large fly-filled cow pat appears to be a source of many delicacies. I was there about an hour watching it, enjoying its antics and attempting to get some decent pics… though I can’t match Allan Chard’s great shot, as below.