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Herons, Storks and Ibises Ardeidae, Ciconiiformes, Threskiornithidae (14)

(Banner Photos: Little Egret (above) and Glossy Ibis (below) by Mark Carmody)

Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris
Former resident, now a rare visitor.

Ussher & Warren recorded 36 'since finished breeding in Ireland. (Ussher & Warren: 168)

Four records in modern times.

2014 One, Kilcolman NNR, 31st March.
2012 One, Ballyhonock Lake, 19th March.
2006 Ballyvergan Reedbed (near Youghal), one on the 19th March.
1963 Clonakilty, one found dying on the 23rd January. (Severe winter that year)

American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus
Rare vagrant.
Three county records.

1875 Between Youghal and Cork, obtained, December.
1875 Annagh Bog, near Kinsale Junction, shot, 25th November, now at Queen's College Museum, Cork.
1875 Near Myross Wood, Glandore, immature, obtained, early October.

Distribution: The American bittern is distributed widely across North and Central America. In the summer months it is found as far north as Alaska, U.S., and in Newfoundland and the Canadian Provinces, to central British Columbia, Canada. In the winter, the American bittern migrates as far south as Central America and the northern Caribbean islands. (Birdlife International)

Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus
Rare vagrant.
22 county records upto the end of 2013.

1992 Sherkin Island, adult male, 20th to 21st April.
1990 Ballycotton, adult female, exhausted, 16th March, died 17th March.
1989 Inchigaggin Marsh, adult male, 4th May.
1981 Ballycotton, adult, 31st May.
1979 Cape Clear Island, adult male, 15th to 16th May.
1978 Myrtleville, adult male, 22nd April.
1966 Cape Clear Island, adult male, exhausted, 1st May, later died.
1966 Cape Clear Island, another, adult male, caught by a cat, 1st May.
1957 Galley Head, found dying, 30th March, now at National Museum, Dublin.
1953 Fastnet Lighthouse, picked up dead, 12th April, now at National Museum, Dublin.
1929 Clonakilty, caught by cat, c. 25th April, now at National Museum, Dublin.
Pre 1900 Youghal, obtained, no date. Ussher & Warren, 1900
1897 Near Schull, obtained, 8th November. Ussher & Warren, 1900
1897 Near Passage, male, killed, 30th March. Ussher & Warren, 1900
1873 Near Cork, immature, taken on a steamer, 20th May. Ussher & Warren, 1900
1869 or 187 Near Rathcormack, shot, autumn. Ussher & Warren, 1900
1868 Near River Bandon, Moragh Bridge, female, obtained, 6th June. Ussher & Warren, 1900
1864 Near Youghal, immature, picked up dead, exhibited on 3rd June. Ussher & Warren, 1900
Pre 1858 Near Youghal, shot, no date. Ussher & Warren 1900
Pre 1845, no location or date. Ussher & Warren:165, 1900
1842 Woodside, adult male, shot, summer and another, obtained,, now at Queen's College Museum, Cork. Harvey, 1845; Ussher & Warren, 1900

Distribution: a widespread summer visitor to much of central and southern Europe, which accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range.(Birdlife International)


Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Rare migrant, mostly in spring.

30records involving 36 individuals up to the end of 2014 since the first record of an adult male at Castlefreke a few years previous to 1845. (Thompson II:174)

Birds have been seen at the following locations: Aragadeen (near Timoleague), Ballycotton, Ballymacoda, Ballymaloe (near Cloyne), Cape Clear Island, Carrigrohane, Castle Freke, Castletownberehaven, Clonakilty, Cork City, Cork Harbour, Cuskinny Marsh ( Great Island), Doneraile, Lissagriffin, Lissard Lake (near Skibbereen), Lough Aderry, Minane Bridge ( near Cork), On the Blackwater River (near Fermoy), Sherkin Island, Youghal.

Usually seen singly but three together have been seen on two occasions. Of those that were aged, most were immature birds. Birds have been seen in all months except December, January, February and September.

Distribution: a widespread summer visitor to much of the southern half
of Europe, which accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. (Birdlife International)

Green Heron Butorides virescens
Rare vagrant.
One record upto the end of 2014.

2005 Schull, first-winter, 11th to 13th October. This bird was the first for Ireland and was also seen in Anglesey, Wales.

Distribution: The green heron breeds from the Pacific states of the U.S. and extreme south-eastern Canada south to Central Panama, the West Indies and islands off the north coast of Venezuela. As a partially migratory species, those most northerly populations travel before winter to reside in the southern U.S. to northern Colombia, northern Venezuela and eastern Ecuador . (Birdlife International)

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
Rare migrant.
Six county records upto the end of 2014.

1996 Ballycotton, adult, 13th to 17th June.
1913 Skibbereen, female, shot, 13th May.
1877 Castle Freke, Galley Head, female, shot, 15th July, now at Castle Bernard, Bandon. Ussher & Warren, 1900
1860 Castlemartyr Demesne, shot, 26th October, now at National Museum, Dublin. Ussher & Warren, 1900
1850 Ballycotton, shot, summer. Ussher & Warren, 1900
1849 Killeagh Bog, near Youghal, obtained, 26th May.Ussher & Warren, 1900

Distribution: a widespread but patchily distributed summer visitor to much of
southern Europe, which accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. (Birdlife International)

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Rare spring migrant.
50 records involving 139 individuals up to the end of 2014.

First county record was in 1976 when an adult was seen as Kilkeran Lake on the 7th March.

Only three records up to the end of 2006. 43 records between 2007 and 2012. Not usually sine alone and highest counts were 12 at Coolmore House, Carrigaline and 12 at Rossleague, Cobh.

Locations where birds have been seen: "Near Youghal by-pass", Bohonagh and Newmills (2km NE of Rosscarbery), Cahermore, Cape Clear Island, Clogheen and Inchydoney, Clonakilty, Coolmore House, Carrigaline, Curaheen and Lislee (near Courtmacsherry), Curraheen (Near Bandon Roundabout, Cork South Ring Road), Cuskinny Marsh, Great Island, East of Rossleague (Great Island), Fanisk Bridge, Youghal, Garinish, Gort (near Eyeries), Gortroe (near Youghal), Inishannon, Keeffe's Wood (Great Island), Lissagriffin, Long Strand and Kilkerran Lake, Lough Beg, Minane Bridge, Mizen Head, Muckridge Demesne (Youghal), Near Ballincollig, Near Redbarn Strand (Youghal), near Timoleague, Rathbarry (4 km E of Rosscarbery), Reendonegan lake, Rossmore (between Clonakilty and Rosscarbery), Rostellan, The Lough (Cork City), Timoleague, Tourig Estuary.

All records between October and June with most records between December and February.

Distribution: breeds mainly in Iberia but als patchily elsewhere in southern Europe,
which accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. (Birdlife Internatoinal)

Little Egret Egretta garzetta
This species continues its increase in the county, and is now common at coastal locations, especially in the east of the county. Numbers breeding are small but also increasing steadily.
Summer Distribution 1988-91 Summer Distribution 2008-11 Winter Distribution 2008-11

This species was on the IRBC rarities list until as recently as the end of 1993.

Up to 1980 there were only 19 county records and from 1980 until the end of 1992 there were 49 records.

Great White Egret Egretta alba
Rare vagrant.

14 county records upto the end of 2014 since first recorded in the county in 1997. The 2008/2009/2011 records probably refer to one individual bird in the Cork Harbour area.

2011 Harper's Island, one between 2nd March and 6th May, probably a returning bird to the area.
2009 Midleton, one on the 8th November. Presumed same as 2008 Fota Bird.
2009 Mizen Head, one on the 7th October.
2009 Lough Beg, an adult on the 24th May. Presumed same as 2008 Fota Bird.
2009 Brown Island, Glounthaune and Fota Island, one from the 8th to the 13th April. Presumed same as 2008 Fota Bird.
2009 Skibbereen, one on the 1st April. Flew south over town.
2008 Slatty's Bridge, Fota, Great Island, one on the 19th October. Presumed same as Fota in July.
2008 Fota, one on the 28th July.
2008 Between Ballinspittle and Garrettstown, one from the 12th to the 17th May.
2006 Ballylickey (near Bantry), one on the 9th October.
2006 Cork City, one on the 5th February.
2005 Blackrock, one on the 30th April. Also seen in Wicklow and Wexford.
2001 Fermoy/Lee Fields/Ballincollig, one from the 1st to the 11th November (colour ringed).
1997 Cape Clear Island & Schull, one from the 26th October to the 3rd November.

Distribution: is a widespread but patchily distributed breeder across much of Europe, which accounts for a tiny proportion of its global breeding range. (Birdlife International)


Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Common and widespread resident breeding species. Records at coastal locations, and offshore islands in autumn may indicate that some passage migration or winter immigration is also occurring. Summer Distribution Winter Distribution

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Rare migrant in spring and early summer.
11 county records upto the end of 2014 since the first at Cape Clear on the 1st/2nd May 1965.

2014 Jamesfort, Kinsale, one on the 13th April.
2005 near Lissagriffin, an adult on the 9th May
1999 Lough Beg, a first-summer on the 5th June.
1995 Clonakilty, one from the 26th to the 29th May.
1994 Minane Bridge, an adult from the 6th to the 8th May.
1992 Sherkin Island, an adult from the 20th to the 21st April.
1990 Knockadoon Head, an adult found dying on the 19th March.
1987 Garretstown, two, one on the 21st April joined by another on the 23rd until 9th May.
1981 Ballycotton, one from the 9th to the 13th June.
1970 Cape Clear Island, one on the 26th August.
1965 Cape Clear Island, one from the 1st to the 2nd May.

Distribution: a widespread summer visitor to much of the southern half of Europe, which accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. (Birdlife Internatoinal)

White Stork Ciconia ciconia
Rare migrant.
Five county records involving seven birds upto the end of 2014.

2002 Cloyne, one from the 22nd and 23rd April.
1995 Clonakilty, one from the 22nd to the 25th April.
1978 Youghal, one on the 1st May.
1866 Hop Island, River Lee, one on the 7th August. (Ussher & Warren :170)
1846 Fermoy, three of which one shot, end of May. (Thompson II:175)

Distribution: is a widespread summer visitor to much of Europe, which constitutes >75% of its global breeding range. Breeds on the continent but not in Ireland or the UK. (birdlife International)

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Rare vagrant.
32 county records up to the end of 2014.

2014 Eight records involving 13 birds. Six new records between January and August from Ballycotton, Timoleague, Oysterhaven, Fermoy, Cuskinny Marsh and Ballywilliam.
2013 Owenahincha Cross, two from the 27th December until the 12th January 2014.
2013 Carrigrohane, one from the 26th December until 12th January 2014.
2013 Ballycotton, one on the 7th December.
2012 Two, Ringarory Island, Baltimore, 17th January.
2012 Lissagriffin, 27th January.
2012 Five, Skibbereen, 28th January.
2012 Four Ballycotton, 28th January.
2012/13 Up to 3, Timoleague, 1th February to 2nd February 2013.
2012 Kilbrittain, 7th August.
2011 Inch Strand, 12th November.
2011 Dromsullivan (Bantry), 2 juveniles, 9th October.
2011 Courtmacsherry, up to 17, 4th to 12th October.
2008 Pilmore Strand, 21st to 22nd October.
2008 Cork/Waterford Youghal Refuse Tip, 16th January; same Blackwater River, 16th January.
1997 Ballycotton, 17th January to 1st April.
1996 Clogheen Marsh, Inchydoney, immature, 20th to 21st June.
1981 Lough Beg, Cork Harbour, 7th March; same, Minane Bridge, 9th; same, Ballycotton, 3rd April to 8th May 1983.
1924 Annagh Bog, Churchtown, adult female, shot, 20th February. A. Harrison, Irish Naturalists' Journal 1: 69
1906 Near Clonakilty, immature male, shot, 10th September. W. E. J. Williams, Irish Naturalist 15: 278
1906 Occurred in the county in autumn 1906, but no numbers, dates or places given (Kennedy et al 1954)
1903 No locality, two, September. H. F. Witherby & N. F. Ticehurst, British Birds 1: 350
1882 Eight together on the River Blackwater before 1882 (Payne-Gallwey 1882; Ussher & Warren 1900)
1870's Near Ballymacoda, five, one shot, October or November. Ussher & Warren, 1900
Pre 1850 No locality, two, killed, no date. Ussher & Warren, 1900

Note: There may be more records or records involving more than one bird pre-1924. More investigatin required.

Pending
2007 Kilbrittain Creek, four, 11th December.

Distribution: a patchily distributed summer visitor to southern and southeastern Europe, which accounts for a tiny proportion of its global breeding range. (Birdlife International)

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Occasional migrant in spring and autumn. Winter records are rare.

59 county records involving 57 birds up to the end of 2014. First county record was at Youghal in autumn 1829.

Birds were seen at the following locations: Ballycotton, Ballymacoda, Baltimore, Bandon River below Inishannon, Blarney, Bog South of Youghal, Carrigtohill, Clonakilty, Clonpriest (Ballymacoda), Cork City, Glounthaune and Great Island: Belvelly area and Rossleague (Cork Harbour), Howe's Strand (Kilbrittain), Kilkerran Lake, Kinsale Marsh, Lissagriffin, Lough Beg, Midleton, Saleen (Cork Harbour), Shanagarry, Skibbereen, The Gearagh, Timoleague, Youghal.

Where age was give adults and immatures seen in equal munbers. Most records were of single birds with the highest single count of four at Ballycotton early December 1860.

Recorded in all months of the year with records being fairly evenly spread over the year. Many birds were long staying evey over a year and other considered returning individuals from year to year.

Distribution: a widespread but patchily distributed breeder across much of southern Europe, which holds just over 50% of its global population. Also breeds further north such as in the Netherlands. (Birdlife International)