Purple Heron, Maxey/Etton pits, Cambs

This morning I was at 'Maxton' at 5.05. Two days ago Nathan Stimpson had seen a Purple Heron there and yesterday had reported seeing it twice. So, it was certainly worth an early start to see if it flew in. It duly did! I saw it in flight (low) at 5.45...


This morning I was at 'Maxton' at 5.05. Two days ago Nathan Stimpson had seen a Purple Heron there and yesterday had reported seeing it twice. So, it was certainly worth an early start to see if it flew in. It duly did! I saw it in flight (low) at 5.45 and it landed by an east-west ditch due north of the hide where 'Dogbite Bench' used to be (and where I was). After a short while it flew east along the ditch, landing very near the hardly-used north hide. It then disappeared into the vegetation and was probably fishing alongside the reed-fringed ditch when I was forced to go home at c7.45am.
It doesn't look like a full breeding adult, but it is showing more adult features than I would have thought for a first-summer bird (with a bit of maroon/purple colour coming through and a bit of face pattern). So perhaps it is a second-summer bird (or a very dull adult).
The photos are not great mainly because it was 5.45am...