Saturday 16 January 2021

Birding Blast from the Past 4 - Purple Heron, Wath Ings, South Yorkshire, Sunday 21 May 1989

Sunday 21 May 1989, a warm and sunny day in South Yorkshire, birding The Wath Area with my dad. Broomhill Flash hosted a couple of Little Ringed Plovers, several duck species, a Cuckoo, Swallows and Swifts airborne plus a more stationary Little Owl. Looking though my notes and a Turtle Dove was also present. We saw a drake Garganey over on Wombwell Ings.

A nice morning of Spring birding and we went off up to the Wintersett Area where we had a lot of singing Warblers around Cold Hiendley Reservoir, with nice views of Garden Warblers and Lesser Whitethroat. Returned to The Wath Area to news of a Purple Heron being found at Wath Ings. Sadly we dipped in the morning but after returning home received news later in the day that it had been relocated, viewable on the main marsh. We twitched it in the evening and had decent views of the snake like neck and head of this 'lifer' in the reeds, the record photos below showing its secretive nature. I believe at the time it was the 1st for the Wath Area and the 3rd? for the Barnsley Birding Area.

With thanks to all involved in the finding and in passing on news.

I've been lucky to see several Purple Herons in GB since and most have been secretive, typical of the species. Best views to date have been overseas at a breeding colony at Waghäusel, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where you can have good views of the tower reedbed nests characteristic of this beautiful Heron.