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Blagdon Lake Birds

Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

(Very rare vagrant)

  1. One, adult, 8th June 2009 (R. Curber, N.R. Milbourne et al.).
  2. Four, not aged, 15th Sep. 2018 (K.E. Vinicombe).
  3. Two, probable adults, 10th Dec. 2018 (T. Doman, N.R. Milbourne, P. Delve).
  4. Four, not aged, 10th Dec. 2018 (P. Delve, T. Doman), possibly included the two seen earlier on the same day.
  5. One, adult, 31st July 2020 (N.R. Milbourne).
  6. Five, not aged, 13th Sep. 2020 (N.R. Milbourne).
  7. Eleven, ten adults & a juvenile, 14th Sep. 2020 (N.R. Milbourne), assumed to have included five seen earlier in the day that were flushed by a Marsh Harrier.
  8. One, adult, 18th-19th Sep. 2020 (N.R. Milbourne et al.)
  9. Nine, mixed ages, 29th Nov. 2020 (M. Hynam, N.R. Milbourne).
  10. Twenty to twenty-two, 19th Dec. 2020 (Dr. M. O'Connor, photo).
  11. Twenty-seven, 20th Dec. 2020 (Dr. M O'Connor, M. Hynam, N.R. Milbourne), twenty-five, 22nd Dec. 2020 (M. Hynam) presumed the same,
  12. Twenty-eight, 23rd Dec. 2020 (N.R. Milbourne).
  13. Thirty-one, 24th Dec. 2020 (M. Hynam), twenty-three, 26th Dec. 2020 (M. Hynam), seventeen, 27th Dec. 2020 (M. Hynam), twenty-five, 28th Dec. 2020 (M. Hynam, N.R. Milbourne), twenty-four, 29th Dec. 2020 (N.R. Milbourne, M. Hynam), one, 1st Jan. 2021 (N.R. Milbourne, M. Hynam), all presumed to be the same.
  14. One, probable adult, 1st March 2021 (N.R. Milbourne) in a field adjacent to Ubley Hatchery, and probably the same bird at Wood Bay Point on 15th March 2021, and Holt Bay on 17th March 2021.
  15. Seventeen, not aged, 27th March 2021 (N.R. Milbourne, M. Hynam) at Hellfire Corner, fifteen, not aged, 1st April 2021 (N. Milbourne), at Flower Corner presumed the same.
  16. Two, not aged, 15th April 2021 (N.R. Milbourne) in flight east over Top End.
  17. Three, not aged, 6th June 2021 (M. Hynam) Holt Farm from Long Bay.
  18. Three, two adults & a juvenile, 13th Sep. 2021 (N.R. Milbourne, R. Hargreaves) on Holt Farm with cattle & Holt Bay, three, the same, Holt Bay 14th Sep. 2021 (N.R. Milbourne), and again on 20th Sep. 2021 (N.R. Milbourne).
  19. Twenty, not aged, 20th Nov. 2021 (L. Starling & Bath RSPB Group), two on 23rd. Nov. 2021 (N.R. Milbourne), and two again on 26th Nov. 2021 (N.R. Milbourne).


Roy Curber found an adult Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis sitting in a tree at 1610 hrs along the Burmah Road shoreline. He very kindly drove up to my house and Celia called me at work. I high-tailed it to the lake and met Roy, but despite searching for an hour we could not relocate the bird. I went home, rather disconsolate for my evening meal and then back to the lake for another look. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when, as I was looking through a herd of cattle on the farm at Long Bay, it flew in over my head and landed among the grazing cows at 2005 hrs. However, I couldn't see it on the ground and as I moved to try and get a better view, it flew up and over the farm buildings and out of sight. As I got further along the south side road to Hellfire Corner I spotted the bird again, sitting among the flooded branches of the Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo roost preening itself. I rang around the local birders and several made it to the lake before it flew into the willows and out of sight, presumably to roost. It was not seen the following day.

Bibliography (sources of information):

  1. Rose, Dr H.E. 2009. Avon Bird Report, 2009. Avon Ornithological Group.
Nigel Milbourne © 2009-23. All Rights Reserved.