Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dirty Habit

Back to the Birdfair again today for a stint on the LROS stand. On the way to Rutland Water, I dropped into Eyebrook Res for a quick gander at the Cattle Egret - would have been rude not to. I pulled up by the modest crowd, checked with bins and could see the egret doing what they do best - standing still and looking boring as hell. You can see all of the finer plumage details, and a handy comparison to its common congener Little Egret, in this perfectly captured shot.

Click for a bit bigger if you like, but its still the indistinct white blob on the right.

I scoped it anyway, and it eventually did do something more exciting when it had a bit of a fly about, came down into cattle, hid for five minutes, then flew to the island where it looked boring for another 10 minutes or so, then flew off strongly at 12:05 and disappeared for a good few hours.

When it flew to the island, I had just packed up the scope and started the car to move further down the road when I noticed a full world birding first for me. As I waited to pull off, a car pulled up and a nun in full habit got out grabbing her bins as she did so. I really wanted to get out and grab a shot, but thought it best not to.

I have seen various films that involve nuns on extra curricular activities (mostly involving them doing the most ungodly things with candles), but never once have I seen a twitching nun. Bizarrely though, I have seen a birding monk at Charnwood Lodge. Wonder what my next ecumenical birding encounter will be, Pope with a Scope?


Anonymous said...

I've seen that monk at Charnwood Lodge ! He was wandering around through the morning mist when I returned to retrieve some overnight moth-traps. Scared the bejeezus out of me he did !


beast said...

I debated for two seconds whether to visit ebr on the way back from rutty water fair yesterday Mark. I, however, decided to be rude and not look for the cattle egret. Well and truly gripped by the birding nun..a very rare sighting indeed. Please submit a full description to the rarity committee...[shame you didn't get a record shot]...!

It could well have been 'nun the wiser'...

Skev said...

Sadly Beast I took no field notes at the time, but if I had to submit a record then going from memory:

plumage: all dark jet black with exception of bright white ear covs, forecrown and bib, and pale pink lores, chin and throat with distinct silvery/grey orbital rings

bare parts: apart from short stubby bill, none seen (doubtfully ever exposed)

voice: no calls heard, likely to be a stern matriarchal bellow

jizz: doubtfully encountered

I think we probably saw the same birding monk on the same morning Keith; I too was perplexed and a bit unnerved by a monk in the moorland mist, until he pulled some bins out of his cassock and started grilling something. I was tempted to stop and ask 'anything about', but didn't want to put the pressure on him of breaking a vow of silence just to say 'no, just a Mipit'.