Glossy Ibis = Global Warming?

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.

Glossy Ibis at Bure Park with Black Headed Gull

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.

15 thoughts on “Glossy Ibis = Global Warming?

  1. Glad you heard and visited your Glossy Ibis visitor! Your Glossy Ibis looks identical to ours in the U.S. It’s really interesting to see a bird considered an uncommon sighting in a region. There are many bird species in the U.S. that are visiting regions that were once considered rare. These are treats to us birders who would otherwise maybe not see that species. Global warming? Hmmmmmm….perhaps!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read a study from an institute in Sweden, they had also noticed that bigger birds that used to be rare ~50 years ago (for example the song swan) are now very common. The reason was unclear, but in general bigger birds increase and smaller ones decrease in numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes they do breed in southern Europe. At this moment there are 5 Glossy Ibis in the UK so your bird could be any one of these (or not) maybe a bit milder here so feeding is easier? whatever it is nice to see them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting aspects here on recording new bird species as a possible result of climate change or whether through opportunism. Useful too to have records that go so far back. New studies tracking bird movement certainly showing up radical change!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely Liz, I am of the opinion these large waders/herons are exploiting new areas not through climate change but expansion. With some smaller species i.e European Bee Eater plus various insects then global warming is moving these northwards (and southwards?) All very interesting, time will tell.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s