26 October 2017

The colourful Little Egret

Little Egret is now a familiar sighting in southern Britain and Ireland, but there are also large increases in Scotland. This time of the year is a great time to see this water bird, as shown by the BirdTrack reporting rate graph below.

BirdTrack reporting rate

Being such an obvious bird, and coupled with their long legs, the Little Egret lends itself very well to being identified by colour rings. The majority of birds are ringed as chicks, providing information on brood size, hatching location and sibling ID for the Nest Record Scheme.

Despite how few foreign recoveries we have for Little Egret, they can move reasonable distances and do so on a regular basis. Colour rings increase the number of sightings of these birds and account for 94% of all of the finding reports that we have in the BTO ringing database for this species.

Colour of location: Ringed in Britain and Ireland, Found Here; Ringed Here, Found in Britain and Ireland

North Notts Ringing Group have been colour ringing Little Egret chicks at Besthorpe Gravel Pits, Nottinghamshire since 2013 and have had some very interesting movements so far. They have not had a single report of a dead bird yet. The map below shows some selected sightings. The ringing site (red pin) and the sighting locations (blue and purple pins) are highlighted.



After being ringed, one chick (blue C3) finished growing, learnt to fly and promptly zipped 122 km North to Filey, North Yorkshire (purple pin on map), in an incredible 85 days after ringing! You can see the dispersal of these birds are generally north but they can go in any direction, as we've posted previously. C3 was seen at Filey for over a week.

Little Egret. Photo taken by Ian Elsom

Preening Little Egret. Photo taken by Ian Elsom

If you do see a colour ringed bird feel free to check out European Colour-ring Birding for a list of colour ringing projects. The ringer will then get back to you with the details and submit the sighting to their ringing scheme.

Last year, Great White Egret was added to the list of birds ringed in Britain or Ireland, see the online reports. These birds were also colour ringed, so if you have any doubt about which species is which, check out the BTO Little Egret and Great White Egret ID video.

2 comments:

  1. I live in North East England on the river Derwent. We were out today at Lintzford Mill and we saw what I belived to be a little egret. I took a couple of photos andca video but its rubbish quality and at a distance. It was so loverlie and exciting. It fished and ate and flew off just after I finished filming.

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  2. I was driving back from Stanhope to consett this week and saw this beautiful bird which I believe was a little egret sitting on a fence watching over the moors. Very striking bird.

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