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Rare Bird Sighted at Pennington Flash
Monday 3rd December, 2007

Rare Bird Sighted at Pennington Flash
Cattle Egret

Bird watchers from across the North West have been flocking to Pennington Flash near Leigh this weekend to try and lay their eyes on a very rare feathered visitor to the UKs shores.

A Cattle Egret was spotted pruning its feathers at the flash on Sunday 2nd December in what is believed to be the first ever sighting of the bird in Greater Manchester. It is only ever been spotted in the North West of England a handful of times.

The Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a small white heron. It is a stocky species, averaging 51cm long and weighing 200-600g, with a short thick bill. The adult bird has an all-white plumage, a yellow bill, and greyish-yellow legs. The sexes are very similar, but juvenile birds have a black bill.

This bird is native to parts of Asia, America and Europe. It is more common in the south-western parts of the Mediterranean such as Spain and Portugal than in Northern Europe. Cattle Egrets also may gather in rural and urban locations, provided there is a pond or pool of some kind around.

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust Senior Ranger Peter Alker said: We are really excited at this find. It goes to show what a great environment Pennington Flash is for all kinds of birds this is a real rarity and we are proud to have yet another first for Greater Manchester. We have recorded more than 230 species of birds at Pennington and the list continues to grow. We always welcome bird watchers to the Flash but we would ask that they respect the golf course and other areas of the park used by other visitors during this busy period.

For further information about Pennington Flash or the sighting of the Cattle Egret contact Peter Alker on 01942 605253. Alternatively contact Ian McKerchar from Manchester Birding on 07958 687481 or ian@mckerchar.freserve.co.uk.

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