Monday, 1 August 2016

Severe drought in southern France forces PURPLE GALLINULES to disperse north....

A severe drought this summer has seen an exceptional number of PURPLE GALLINULES in southern France having to move, particularly in the Languedoc Region. As a result, a minimum of 7 individuals has been displaced much farther north than normal, including one just south of the Brittany peninsular at Morbihan since 20th July. Nine days later, in coastal Suffolk at Minsmere RSPB, an adult made its way as far north as East Anglia, showing well on the reed-fringed pool behind South Hide until 1st August at least. This represents the first 'considered wild' Purple Gallinule for the British Isles, following some 5 or so records of previous likely escapes (and many records of the closely related Grey-headed Swamphen). The bird has been feeding naturally on the pool, spending most of the day feeding on reedmace. By dusk on Monday 1st August, no fewer than 1,000 birdwatchers had flocked to the site.

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