In the last 30 years there has been a very noticeable increase in the number and variety of Herons and large wading birds in the U.K. It was as recently as 1994 when I saw my first Little Egrets at Titchwell RSPB in Norfolk. This species is now widespread and numerous across the Country. Then came Cattle Egret and in 1997 after spending the night waiting for my daughter to be born I twitched my first Great White Egret. The first Glossy Ibis I saw was in Devon in 2003. It was a nice surprise when one turned up at Bure Park Gt Yarmouth last week, so decided to go take a look today.
Unfortunately you could only view the bird looking into the sun, with the plumage being black/brown all the images look like silhouettes! So what is causing this northward expansion from southern Europe? Is it global warming or are the species naturally exploiting new areas. The weather has been decidedly chilly, just above freezing with the odd snow shower this week, but the Ibis looked at home and was finding plenty of food.
Historically Glossy Ibis were recorded in Norfolk in 1824, so perhaps they are not reliant on warmer climates. Maybe it was persecution that caused them to disappear. In recent years we have seen the return of Common Crane and Spoonbill to breed in the County. Whatever the reason it’s nice to see an exotic looking bird on the edge of a not so exotic looking town.