On Sunday 31st July, news broke that a Purple Swamphen, better known as Purple Gallinule, had been discovered at RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk. Most of the previous occurrences of Swamphen’s in Britain, have been assigned to a subspecies other than the nominate race, as in the case of the Minsmere bird and these have all been deemed to be escapes. Western Purple Swamphen has been expanding it’s range northwards into France and recently a bird has been present during July in Southern Brittany. So hopefully the Minsmere bird has got good enough credentials and becomes the first accepted British record.
I managed to see the bird, on Friday evening, 5th August, after leaving home around 1:30pm. Arriving at Minsmere around 5:30pm in lovely late summer sunshine, the bird was present on the heavily reed fringed South Girder Pool, opposite the South Hide. A great setting for a stunning bird, making a Moorhen look rather tiny in comparison. Barrie and I were very fortunate, we must have been amongst the last few people to see the bird, as there was no sign of it the following morning. During our brief visit to Minsmere, we managed to see Green Sandpiper, plenty of Little Egret and a family party of Stone Curlew. A brief stop for a Fish and Chip supper and home by 11:30pm.
Western Purple Swamphen – Minsmere, Suffolk, July 5th 2016 – Above 4 images – Tony Davison© – A potential first record for Britain.
Little Egret – Minsmere, Suffolk – Above 4 images – Tony Davison©
Green Sandpiper – A flock of 8 birds dropped in briefly to the Girder Pool. Difficult to photograph as they were frantically flying around before departing. Tony Davison©
Rabbit – Plenty of these on the Minsmere Reserve – Tony Davison©