21 December 2011

Great White Egrets hanging around

Little Egret , Great White Egret and Grey Heron off Loughor Boatclub on 9th Dec (c) Phil Holden
2011 has been the best year on record for Great White Egrets in the Burry Inlet. Since the first sighting of the year on 15th July at WWT Llanelli, there's been a continuous presence in the estuary. The first bird was joined by a second that appeared on 30th August and these  long-stayers have regularly been seen together at WWT and Llanrhidian saltmarsh, with occasional forays elsewhere around the Burry Inlet and Upper Loughor. A third bird appeared on 28th November, but this was highly mobile and may have been responsible for sightings further afield, such as at Neath, Brynaman and the Twyi Valley in early December. But the faithful two look set to stay the winter, so next time you see a big white egret, try and note the large yellow bill, which will confirm it as a Great White rather than Little. The latter can often appear deceptively large,especially in flight and there are approximately 100 of these scattered around the estuary.


Jeff said...

I guess that with the numbers being seen throughout the UK it's only a matter of time when GWE will follow Cattle Egret and breed in this country.

Barry Stewart said...

That would be nice, although Cattle Egrets seem to have disappeared off the radar as quickly as they appeared - in Wales at least!

Jeff said...

I'd be interested in finding out if Cattle Egret bred this year,and also if the Little Bitterns returned to breed on the Somerset Levels if anyone has any information.