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Sunday, 5 October 2008

LITTLE BLUE HERON IN COUNTY GALWAY



LITTLE BLUE HERON, Letterfrack, County Galway, 5 October 2008 (John Murphy)

The juvenile LITTLE BLUE HERON is still present 6 miles NNE of Chifden (County Galway) at Letterfrack at midday, showing well intermittently on the rocky foreshore at the end of the Pier. It represents the third for the Western Palearctic, following three previous records of juveniles in The Azores (see below)

1 28 November 1964, Flores, first-winter (ringed as a nestling at New Jersey, USA, in June 1964)
2 7-9 October 1997, Fajã dos Cubres, São Jorge, juvenile
3 4-7 October 1998, Madalena, Pico, juvenile

This bird has been present since at least 24 September

''Aonghus O'Donaill and myself first saw the bird on 24th Sept. Little Egretsstill scarce enough out here. Aonghus though legs and bill were a little onthe yellow side. We quickly came to the conclusion that it wasn't a Snowy.We both remarked that the bill appearred surprisingly like that of a SquaccoHeron. I noted black smudging to the primary tips, yellow-greenish lores andlegs (latter stout enough). Neck also seemed thicker. We decided to leave itas a juvenile Little and thought no more of it and didn't even botherlooking for it again. Fast forward to about 7p.m. last night. While flickingthrough Sibley (thanks Rob!) I came across Little Blue - the penny mostdefinitely dropped! Aonghus and Ger Walshe picked up the bird first thingthis morning. I'm currently out on Inishmore until Wed and have promisedmyself I won't jump ship, don't think its going anywhere in a hurry anyway''

Dermot Breen