As hoped the cattle egret showed brilliantly today down to a few feet to repay those who could not see it earlier.
I believe the bird was picked up at Hempholme Farm area again early doors before birders reported it flying south at about 11:00 - after the start of a local shoots and a later fox hunt on the east bank. The livestock of Easingwold Farm (the first farm outside the main gates of Tophill Low) has always been a hope and sure enough it was picked up here – actually on the mown lawn of the farm house and feeding with the chickens.
The link here shows the location – note the public footpath and please stick to it. It is suggested that viewing is best from the path which subtly skirts the farmyard to the West – please do not enter the yard itself despite what the map suggests. This image I obtained with a phone and binoculars from within Tophill this afternoon – and as you can see this is someone’s private lawn.
For closer up views as available down to a matter of feet see Andy Hood’s excellent photo here.
Big thanks to Reserve Volunteer Richard Sears who knows the Farmer and has contacted him to explain the situation. He is currently OK with it and has said the bird has apparently been there the last 3 afternoons – but as ever – please be respectful to landowners when viewing. Richard mows the lawn for Easingwold Farm which must be why it's there – if you too would like to attract a cattle egret to your lawn visit his website here!
Again – parking is an issue – the road in is a main access for the Treatment Works, farms and residences so we would ask that people park within the reserve and visit the farm on foot. There is no official parking on this road. There are plenty of great birds in the reserve also – short-eared and barn owl have again been seen around Hempholme weir, willow tit in D woods, bittern midday on Watton NR with two smew to name a few today. If you are desperate to avoid a charge there is a small public car park at Wilfholme landing to the south from which you can walk through the mud across the back of Watton NR to the EA hide and subsequently on the prow to Easingwold. However there are only about 5 parking spaces here so expect not to get in.
The bird made a brief circumnavigation of O res mid afternoon before returning to the farm. At last light the bird almost certainly flew over the reserve car park NE - straight back towards Hempholme Farm - we can't see it going far overnight.
The other notable sighting of the day was a near ermine stoat frolicking on the ice of North Marsh for observers today.