07.04.12. Birdlog (Great White Egret)

Photographed by Paul Crawley

7th April 2012 turned out to be a Red letter day for me at Frodsham. Following on from Paul Crawley’s sighting yesterday of a Great White Egret which was present on No 6 tank, and photographed by him (featured). Anyway, anticipating the possibly of some good birding on the high tide. I secreted myself on the banks of No 4 tank looking north over Frodsham Score. The tide slowly crept up filling the tidal gutters and spread out across the salt marsh. Eventually, shorebirds were forced from their feeding grounds and dispersed out to roosting areas on the marsh and higher ground elsewhere. Within  an hour of the high water period, three little Egrets were forced from the Holpool gutter and alighted on a grassy area adjacent to the banks of the Manchester Ship canal. The birds were obscured by a raised area with sheep sheltering from the rising tide. Some of the sheep became agitated and caused a short flurry of activity forcing the egrets to take flight. At that moment they were joined by a larger and whiter heron…Great White Egret on my Frodsham List. I sent PC, Mark (Whipper) Gibson and Frank Duff a text, fortunately both Whipper and Frank were to join me within an hour and both managed to see the bird before it took flight and moved out to the river.  The GWE was present from Hale for two further days.
This bird is probably the same which appeared earlier in the year at the marsh and, subsequently relocated at Burton Marsh. Additionally, three birds were seen over the Weaver Bend in early February. With its range expansion and the advancing league of Mediterranean species edging further north. The once extreme rarity has lost a little of its gloss but, for me a species I never expected to  have seen on Frodsham Marsh. The mythical egret eventually gave its self up and, for one birder it was truly welcomed to my favoured patch.