Rare Green Heron Sighted in Lost Valley
Friday, October 08 2010 @ 05:18 PM EDT
Contributed by: Pat B
6th October 2010
Link to the Article
A wave of excitement spread across The Lost Gardens of Heligan, on the morning of Wednesday 6th October, as an incredibly rare sighting of a Green Heron in the Lost Valley was recorded by Heligan’s wildlife team. The bird has now been seen for a third day (Friday 8th October).
Whilst taking his daily wildlife checks of the gardens and estate Bob Mitchell spotted an unusual looking bird on the edge of the lake in Heligan’s Lost Valley. On further investigation Bob and the wildlife team discovered that the images Bob had captured were in fact of a Green Heron, only ever seen 3 other times in Cornwall!
“My eye was first caught by the unusual plumage of the bird and I realised it deserved closer investigation, on doing so I realised it was a heron but not one that should be here at Heligan or even in fact in the UK. It was a very exciting experience and I was totally elated to be in the presence of such an unusual bird.” Said Bob Mitchell from Heligan’s wildlife team.
The first ever sighting of a Green Heron in Cornwall was recorded in 1889. With a total of only 10 sightings in the UK since records began this is a truly extraordinary sight. The bird has not been spotted in the UK since 2008 when one was seen in West Hythe, Kent.
Although the birds are quite widespread across their native countries of the United States and southern Canada, they are certainly not expected to purposely make the long and arduous journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the UK. It is thought possible that the Green Heron may have been blown off course during its annual winter migration.
This fascinating fish eating bird has an unusual means of hunting for food. It commonly will drop bait onto the surface of the water to attract small fish for it to catch. Hopefully the well stocked and unpolluted water courses at Heligan will have supplied it with a welcome feast after its incredible journey.
Derek Julian from the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society came to Heligan to see the bird for himself and commented that, “it really is extremely rare to see a Green Heron in the UK and is incredibly exciting because it has come from so far away. The distance this small bird has travelled is amazing and we think it probably came in ahead of gales on Tuesday night.”
It is unsure how long the bird will remain in the Lost Valley, any bird watchers interested in visiting The Lost Gardens of Heligan can do so between the normal opening hours from 10am to 5pm – last admission 3:30pm. You can also catch a glimpse of the bird here where some footage captured by Heligan’s wildlife team has been displayed.
Link to the Lost Gardens
View footage of the rare Green Heron sighted in the Lost Valley at this link.