Dippers, Chiffchaffs and Egrets, oh my!


The chiffchaff – which has a very distinctive call, but is not often seen in the open.

As March turned into April and the weather starts to improve, river watchers last weekend were able to secure photographs of two birds that have not previously been photographed on the Cale – one of which, to our knowledge, has not been seen on the river before. Our CATCH colleague Steve Lee, on an impromptu river walk, managed to take shots of a dipper, a grey wagtail, and a chiffchaff – the latter a bird which is easily and distinctively heard over a wide distance, and is actually quite common in the trees around Wincanton, but is hard to spot and harder still to identify.

Little egret

Little egret. Picture by kind permission of Sue Cox.

The best news of the weekend, undoubtedly, came from our friend Sue Cox, who saw – and photographed – a little egret perching by the river, and has kindly allowed us to share the photograph on our pages. We have no confirmation of egrets being seen on the Cale before, although as the river is some twelve miles long it is quite possible that they’ve been hiding along some of the stretches that are obscured from the public.

You will notice that the photograph of the chiffchaff has also captured one of the rather less welcome species of river life, the Common Morrisons Shopping Bag. It is, in a way, quite appropriate that this first picture of a bird we are very happy to see along the Cale, also serves as a reminder that our efforts to keep the river clean are not, and quite possibly never will be, complete. There will always be accidental litter spills even if nobody is deliberately throwing rubbish into the river; but CATCH will always be there to help clear them away!

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