Yes, you read that title correctly. Not one but two great white egrets today – well, and at least yesterday to be fair. Here’s what was recorded…

But before we get on to great whites, there was a black-necked grebe at Adwick Washland today - and still there at the time of writing. Luckily, the remarkable Gary Stones was on hand to take a few photos and report that the bird is on Harlington Flash. Thanks Gary.

Black-necked grebe from Gary Stones

Also at Adwick today were little egret and yellow wagtail.

Yellow wagtail from Martin Roper. Thanks Martin.

And now back to the remarkable sight of two great white egret at Old Moor today. A second bird obviously raised the question of comparisons. At first glance they do look very similar, but can they be told apart?

So, for your viewing pleasure tonight, here’s a version of one of those ‘spot-the-difference’ puzzles that we used to get in our comics!

First up, a view of wings. And yes, I know there’re not quite at the same angle – blimey, give a bloke a break!

The bird on the left is the great white that has been seen since Aug 4 and both pictures were taken today. Among other things they show a missing primary feather on that left wing.

Next, beak and legs.

The bird on the right (the ‘newcomer’) has upper legs that are mostly dark and a yellow bill. The bird on the left has yellow upper legs and a bill as colourful as a sky ray lolly!

For a closer look at that bill, here’s another from Martin Roper. Thanks again Martin.

So, yes, fairly easy to tell them apart and according to James Hancock’s article (British Birds, 1984) the newcomer is a non-breeding bird whilst the other is older as it shows breeding plumage.

Now the next question is, will they be there tomorrow?

Until next time.

Anonymous