Friday morning 7th of August 2020 my wife and I decided to spend an hour or so at the local patch, Staunton Harold Reservoir, South Derbyshire. At around 9:42 as I was scanning the far side of the reservoir, a stunning Great White Egret suddenly flew into my field of view and landed on the far side of the water. I couldn’t believe it, a new bird for the site and one I’ve been expecting for some time. Unfortunately a speed boat from the Yacht Club was out and fairly soon the bird flushed towards the Calke End. We decided to head back home and I would go looking for it later. Also present 5 Little Egret, 6 Yellow-legged Gull (4 adults and 2 third summer) 234 Grey Lag Goose, 4 Egyptian Goose, around 25 Common Tern and 55 Great Crested Grebe.
I soon re-discovered the Great White Egret roosting in a large willow tree down the Calke Arm. It obligingly dropped onto the shore line and commenced feeding for 10 minutes or so before flying off west and I lost it over Spring Wood.
Sunday 9th August – Staunton Harold Reservoir – No sign of the Great White Egret but 8 Little Egret and 6 Grey Heron present. Also 5 Yellow-legged Gull and a rather strange and difficult Caspian Gull (3rd summer). I photographed the bird as best I could as it was roosting on the “Draw-Out Tower” rails along with 3 adult Yellow-legged Gull. It had bright pink legs and appeared to have a pale eye. I wasn’t 100% sure, in fact I thought it might be an argentatus type Herring Gull, due to leg colour and the massive size of the bill. These features are inconsistent but can be seen on some Caspian Gulls. Of course a hybrid type from one of the mainland Europe colonies can’t be ruled out, but then Caspian Gull bare part colour is very variable, as bare part colour is with many other gull species. Nevertheless an interesting bird that structurally, along with a hint of greenish tone in the bill, sits well for Caspian Gull in 3rd summer plumage. It has also been suggested that it could be a bird from the German mixed-colonies, but without a ring on its leg how can one be sure?
Also 25 Common Tern and a fly-over Common Snipe which was a patch year tick and 30 Cormorant were other highlights.