Birders flock to Waterloo Region to see rare snowy egret
Birders from around Ontario are flocking to Waterloo Region to catch a glimpse of a rare white heron-like bird, that's only been spotted in the area once before.
The snowy egret was first spotted on Aug. 29, on a bridge over the Conestogo River. The snowy egret is a southern heron, common in Florida.
On average, there are only five snowy egret sightings in Ontario each year, and the last time one was seen in Waterloo Region was in 1996, says biologist and birder Ken Burrell.
"This is a bird that is rare enough that people will drive far distances to see," said Burrell. "People have been driving from as far as London and Toronto and Bruce County to see this bird, so it's quite rare."
Burrell says they're not exactly sure why the snowy egret came so far north, but it may be due to a large hurricane that swept up the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and into Nova Scotia in July.
He expects the bird will leave the region by early October, but until then the best place to catch a glimpse is the Glasgow Street bridge over the Conestogo River on the south edge of the town of Conestoga, or on Northfield Drive where it meets the Conestogo River near Waterloo's RIM park.