Rare Green Heron Sighting At The Lost Gardens Of Heligan

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A wave of excitement spread across The Lost Gardens of Heligan, on the morning of Wednesday 6th October, as an incredibly rare sighting of a Green Heron in the Lost Valley was recorded by Heligan’s wildlife team.

Rare Green Heron at Heligan Gardens

I realised it was a heron but not one that should be here at Heligan or even in fact in the UK. It was a very exciting experience and I was totally elated.

Whilst taking his daily wildlife checks of the gardens and estate Bob Mitchell spotted an unusual looking bird on the edge of the lake in Heligan’s Lost Valley. On further investigation Bob and the wildlife team discovered that the images Bob had captured were in fact of a Green Heron, only ever seen 3 other times in Cornwall!

“My eye was first caught by the unusual plumage of the bird and I realised it deserved closer investigation, on doing so I realised it was a heron but not one that should be here at Heligan or even in fact in the UK. It was a very exciting experience and I was totally elated to be in the presence of such an unusual bird.” Bob Mitchell from Heligan’s wildlife team.

The first ever sighting of a Green Heron in Cornwall was recorded in 1889. With a total of only 10 sightings in the UK since records began this is a truly extraordinary sight. The bird has not been spotted in the UK since 2008 when one was seen in West Hythe, Kent.

Although the birds are quite widespread across their native countries of the United States and southern Canada, they are certainly not expected to purposely make the long and arduous journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the UK. It is thought possible that the Green Heron may have been blown off course during its annual winter migration.

This fascinating fish eating bird has an unusual means of hunting for food. It commonly will drop bait onto the surface of the water to attract small fish for it to catch. Hopefully the well stocked and unpolluted water courses at Heligan will have supplied it with a welcome feast after its incredible journey.

Derek Julian from the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society came to Heligan to see the bird for himself and commented that, “it really is extremely rare to see a Green Heron in the UK and is incredibly exciting because it has come from so far away. The distance this small bird has travelled is amazing and we think it probably came in ahead of gales on Tuesday night.”

It is unsure how long the bird will remain in the Lost Valley, any twitchers interested in visiting The Lost Gardens of Heligan can do so between the normal opening hours from 10am to 5pm – last admission 3:30pm. Garden admission Adult £10, Senior £9, Child £6, Family £27. You can also catch a glimpse of the bird at http://www.heligan.com where some footage captured by Heligan’s wildlife team has been displayed.

For further information please contact:
Simon Whittam @ Onshore Media
on: 01752 823414 or 078 0241 6420                            
Email: simonwhittam(at)weareonshore(dot)com
Or Dawn Bebe on 07831 790416

Broadcast quality footage of the rare Green Heron is available, as are a selection of pictures.


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Simon Whittam

Dawn Bebe

07831 790416
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