Egyptian Vulture

An Egyptian Vulture has almost certainly been in the Wensum Valley in recent days, originally discovered by Chris Bishop 5 miles East of Watton on Saturday 28th April near to Woodrising it flew low NNE towards Dereham at 6.45 am and was lost. Despite some frantic searching during the day there were no further reports by dusk and as a single observer record some questioned that it ever existed!

On Sunday at 11.38 am it was refound at Warham, 2.5 miles SE of Wells next the sea before once again disappearing around 1 pm somewhere just North of Fakenham, it would seem likely therefore that at sometime it would have been in the skies over the valley and perhaps even roosted in the valley teh night before.

The current BOURC status (published in 1999) is as below; Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus

“Kilve, Bridgwater Bay, Somerset, October 1825, immature shot and another seen; Peldon, Essex, 28 September 1868, immature shot; Black Down, near Beaulieu Road Station, Hampshire, 16 June 1968, adult seen; Farlington Marshes, Hampshire/Sussex, 31 October to 1 November 1969; adult seen, later caught in Sussex; Donna Nook, Lincolnshire, 12 June 1970, adult seen.

The species is currently in Category B. Following a review of the claims listed above, the Committee could find no good reason to doubt the two nineteenth century specimen records from Somerset in 1825 and Essex in 1868, though it could not uphold the sight record from Somerset. The species, therefore remains in Category B on the basis of the specimen records.

The species is and has been relatively commonly kept in captivity in recent decades. (Italics mine) Of the three recent records, it was felt there were enough parallels with the record of a Monk Vulture Aegypius monachus in Wales in 1977-1978 (Ibis 135: 220-222) to place the 1968 Hampshire bird in Category D only. The circumstances of the 1969 occurrences in Hampshire and Sussex were such that the bird was considered likely to have escaped from captivity and the record is added to Category E. The 1970 Lincolnshire report was rejected for lack of documentation.

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