Thursday, 11 November 2010

Why's That Heron Squaking?

Cos it’s a Squacco……stupid!

11th Nov. (Remembrance Day, Lest we Forget). Despite a dreadful weather forecast, Tom and I decided last night that we wouldn’t allow a drop of rain to prevent us taking a look for the Squacco Heron at Morpeth and that we would be up there this morning come what may. I have definitely developed a growing twitch of late. Anyway, as I left the house this morning, things were not looking overly bright, but in fact take away the odd small shower, this morning was a sunny one in Morpeth. The sun is still shinning as I type.

I got a little mixed up with my bridges in Morpeth, but after taking some advice from a local we headed for the blue one! The Squacco Heron had been last reported near here at around 7.00am. We actually ended up walking as far as the weir without any luck, before deciding to take a walk back towards the town. We were surprised to be the only birders about until we got our eye on another on the opposite bank at which point Tom saw movement on the river bank. A bird had lifted and then dropped again. It proved to be our target the Squacco Heron. I’m not sure that the guy on the opposite bank right next to it actually picked it up. A couple of birders were watching it from a little further along the river. The sighting we had was decent enough, but it eventually lifted and flew across to our side (town side) and gave us excellent views whilst it fed just a few yards from us. Two guys on the opposite bank timed their arrival perfectly, because as soon as they stepped out of the car the bird was visible to them. Once we had crossed the river we chatted briefly and the bird appeared to fly off up river towards the town, although I think it may very well have quickly dropped down into the vegetation again. That was a good job done, a lifer for Tom and my second Northumberland Squacco Heron, following my sighting of the East Chevington bird a few years back. We didn’t ignore the other birds that were about which had included Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail and a party of tits including a good number of Long Tailed Tits. We decided to treat ourselves to a cuppa in Morpeth as way of celebration.

The weather remained good so we decided to have a walk through the park and along the river. We found a male Sparrowhawk enjoying the sun high up in the trees. We later found one or two birders searching for an illusive Squacco Heron. I think we were lucky that we had found it early on. Tom told me he had brought his sandwiches in the event off being there for the long haul, but they had not been required! An excellent morning.

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