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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Snowy Egret sighting Cape Town June 2015

The Snowy Egret was first spotted by local twitchers Dominic and Patric Rollinson on Monday 8 June 2015, along the Blackriver opposite Berkley Road near Cape Town.  This caused a huge excitement amongst the South African birding fraternity as a Mega Alert was sent out to all birders by Mr Trever Hardaker.

Snowy Egret in full breeding plumage
Source Wikipedia

People were cancelling all their plans and booked tickets to fly in to Cape Town to come and see the unfamiliar, yet beautiful Snowy Egret.  Somehow our friend found his way to the African continent from America, as he is a bird not commonly found in Africa.  The last time this beauty was recorded in South Africa was in May 2002.

Front page of the Cape Times
Alex first joined in the excitement on Tuesday at 10h30 to tick off this mega, and record same.
Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

We returned on Saturday morning only to find no Snowy, with cold and misty conditions.  We decided to come back a little later when the mist had cleared, and we were fortunate enough to find our friend enjoying some sunshine on the bank opposite the railway bridge.

VIDEO of the Snowy Egret at the Blackriver in Cape Town. June 2015

The snowy egret (Egretta thula) is a small white heron. It is the American counterpart to the very similar Old World little egret, which has established a foothold in the Bahamas.
Snowy Egret Twitchers at the Blackriver
Snowy Egret

At one time, the beautiful plumes of the snowy egret were in great demand by market hunters as decorations for women's hats. This reduced the population of the species to dangerously low levels.[citation needed]
Twitchers looking for the Snowy

Other Birds spotted on the day: Blacksmith Lapwing Plover

Other Birds spotted on the day: Common Moorhen

Other Birds spotted on the day:Pied Kingfisher

Now protected in the United States by law, under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, this bird's population has rebounded. [Wikipedia]

Other Birds spotted on the day: Reed Cormorant

Other Birds spotted on the day: White Breasted Cormorant
Adults are typically 61 cm (24 in) long and weigh 375 g (0.827 lb) They have a slim black bill and long black legs with yellow feet. The area of the upper bill, in front of the eyes, is yellow but turns red during the breeding season, when the adults also gain recurved plumes on the back, making for a "shaggy" effect. The juvenile looks similar to the adult, but the base of the bill is paler, and a green or yellow line runs down the back of the legs. [Wikipedia]
Snowy Egret Twitchers

The birds eat fish, crustaceans, insects, small reptiles, snails, frogs, worms, mice and crayfish. They stalk prey in shallow water, often running or shuffling their feet, flushing prey into view, as well "dip-fishing" by flying with their feet just over the water.

Snowy Egret Twitchers

Snowy egrets may also stand still and wait to ambush prey, or hunt for insects stirred up by domestic animals in open fields. [Wikipedia]

Other Birds spotted on the day: Yellow Billed Egret
Snowy Egret Twitchers
Snowy Egret

Photographic Equipment Used on this shoot:
Canon 5D Mark 2
Canon 600 f4
Canon 1D Mark 3
Canon 24-70mm f2.8
Video: Samsung S4
Binoculars Leica Trinovid

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