A Great Bird And A Great New Location Always Learning With Birds 19 September 2021




The Squacco Heron moves from one fishing spot to another - wonderful bird - photo Ivan and Rose.



Last time we had two nights away from North Wales, back in July, a Pacific Golden Plover turned up on Anglesey this time two nights in Lancashire and a Squacco Heron is seen in Flintshire! We were lucky with the Pacific Golden Plover, despite negative news we went and looked for the rare wader and relocated it. There was negative news of the Squacco Heron the day we drove home from Lancashire and we toyed with idea of looking for it but with heavy traffic on a Friday into Wales decided not to go and much to our relief the Squacco Heron was not seen that day at all. No news during the day on Saturday the 18th September so we assumed it had left the area but at 8.30pm that evening it emerged the heron had in fact been seen and had shown well during the day at times at least! Very frustrating that the news only came out after it was dark.

On Sunday the 19th September Ruth was guiding a tour on Anglesey that required a 6.30am start so Alan was up and out early but decided to stick to plan A and head to the Great Orme instead of heading east to look for the Squacco Heron, negative news soon came through no sign of the rarity on Sunday morning so Alan felt good that he had opted for the local patch.

The good feeling didn’t last long news came through that the Squacco Heron had indeed been seen again albeit briefly. Quick call to friends Ivan and Rose who just happened to be staying in nearby Deganwy and the three were heading for Big Wood North Wales Wildlife Trust Reserve near Gronant in Flintshire. About 40 minutes later and a line of cars parked on the lane near the entrance to the reserve confirmed this was the spot. But where were the occupants no one in sight and none of us had been to this site before. Luckily just at that moment another birder arrived and was on his phone to a friend who was at the spot where the rarity had been seen some time ago. He shouted to follow him and we jumped back in the car and drove back west a little way then into a caravan park, where we were told it was fine to park, and drove to the north side of the park. Here we could see a few birders on the edge of the last field in the caravan park, which was empty apart from one motorhome, and we joined the small group.

News was not good sadly, no sign of the Squacco Heron for over half an hour and the only sightings so far had been brief and in flight. We stood in the field and scanned the reed-lined ditch and chatted with birding friends – something we haven’t done much of recently but no heron. Minutes ticked by still no sign, a beautiful Northern Wheatear was lovely to see, a Stock Dove, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel was showed nicely but no rare heron.


Where we eventually caught up with the Squacco Heron you might just be able to spot it?



Over an hour later and it was not looking good, there were no more sightings of the rarity despite a few people looking and wandering a wider area. Then a birder was shouting “there flying!” we all spun around and there was the Squacco Heron flying over the caravan park! Fantastic after the wait and the thought we might not see this wonderful rarity. The small rare heron flew fast and dropped towards a small pool making a dramatic dive out of sight behind some reeds. Of course we quickly followed and were thrilled to see the Squacco Heron stood in the open at the base of the reeds next to a plastic bottle for size comparison – really small bird! We all watched from discreet a distance and enjoyed great views but too far away for good photos with our bridge camera but Ivan and Rose got some lovely images. The heron was staring into the water on the hunt for fish but occasionally it would try and grab passing dragonflies brilliant to watch. So lucky that this very rare bird in North Wales stayed around for more folks to enjoy we will have to go away more often!






Photos by Ivan and Rose taken on Sunday morning 19th September 2021.



You can see lots of Ivan and Rose's photographs by following @Nitroshutter on Twitter - amazing images!


Best we could manage of the Squacco Heron with our Panosonic Lumix bridge camera.




We had great looks at this Sparrowhawk in the adjacent Big Wood NWT Reserve - a great place.



Of course a wonderful way to see more birds is to join one of our Birdwatching Trips and learn a lot about the birds you are enjoying too. We have tours suitable for all from beginners to experienced birders that are seeking particular species. Just drop us a line here and we can arrange a perfect custom tour for you!

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds with you soon.





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