As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

100 years ago: Rare night heron returns to the Cheshire dust

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 9 November 1912

At the end of July a friend of mine was lucky enough to see a night heron, an exceedingly rare bird, standing on a tree which overhung one of the Cheshire meres. So far as I know there is only one previous occurrence of the bird in the county, although it has been shot about half-a-dozen times in Lancashire.

My friend's description of its appearance and plumage was convincing, and I hunted vainly for it, hoping that it was still about. It was, but I did not happen on the right spot. Now, three months later, it has turned up and I have seen it; to be precise, I have seen all that is left of it. The remains were discovered this week by a gamekeeper.

The bird may have been shot at and wounded or it may have died a natural death - rare birds do occasionally, - and its corpse has been lying amongst the reeds, gradually returning to the dust. Fortunately it was found before all the feathers had gone and whilst most of the bones, including the skull, remained. It is not much of a specimen, but there is enough left to prove its identity.

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