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Rare egret visits Donegal

The cattle egret, a type of heron which is normally found in Africa and Asia, which made its way to a pig farm in St Johnson. Photo: Christine Cassidy, Inishowen Wildlife Club.

The cattle egret, a type of heron which is normally found in Africa and Asia, which made its way to a pig farm in St Johnson. Photo: Christine Cassidy, Inishowen Wildlife Club.

An exceptionally rare visitor has come to Donegal.

Members of Inishowen Wildlife Club recently heard that a cattle egret had been spotted at a pig farm in St. Johnston.

Christine Cassidy, Derry, Danny Mc Laughlin and former Cllr. Dermot Mc Laughlin, Chairman of The Inishowen Wildlife Club, went along to investigate.

The were absolutely delighted to not only catch sight of the pure white bird, which is a species of heron, but to capture some stunning photographs.

Christine told the Donegal Democrat: “The cattel egret is normally found in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate zones.”

Birdwatch Ireland development officer Niall Hatch of Birdwatch Ireland, said it was “exceptionally rare” to see a cattle egret this far north.

The migratory bird is native to Africa and Asia, where it can be found near herds of animals such as wildebeest, taking advantage of the worms and insects that are dug up as they forage. The cattle egret gets its name because it often rides on the back of such animals.

Mr Hatch said that sightings have been previously recorded in Cork, Waterford and Wexford.

“This is a very rare bird generally for Ireland but getting one as far north as Donegal is an exceptional occurrence,” he concluded.

 

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