Posts Tagged ‘Great White Egret


Budget Statement

On our recent migration day at Minsmere … we saw lots.

I took this photo of a Great White Egret looking South from Island Mere hide towards the Sizewell nuclear plant. Given the chancellors recent announcement it set me thinking.

I thought the photo showed quite well the juxtaposition of where we are and the dilemma we face. The Egret is a relatively new coloniser in the UK, but it has become somewhat of a regular breeding species. It is a species that has taken advantage of ever northward moving increasing temperature contours. Increasing temperatures caused by human induced climate change. Then in the background is Sizewell power station. The site of the proposed new C reactor. A project designed to lower carbon emissions; to limit climate change.

Some would say why does Sizewell C have to take up prime wildlife habitat next to what could be described as the UK’s no1 showpiece reserve? I guess existing infrastructure has something to do with that; after all it has to go somewhere; and we do have to limit carbon emissions: don’t we?

Some would say why not pump the £30M estimated construction costs into wind, wave or solar energy production. So where do the turbines or panels go? I presume they have a larger landscape or seascape footprint than a nuclear plant producing an equivalent output.

The answers are not easy. I don’t know the solutions but there has to be some compromise and I do know we have to do something to reduce power production carbon emissions … but does it have to be Minsmere? Really?


Great White!

Non breeding, due to their yellow bills, these three were hanging around Hickling the other week. It’s certainly good to see them but I can’t help wondering if their expansion north in their range is due to global warming as temperature gradients also move north; is that also good?


‘all white

On tour at Hickling the other week a large Egret flew up out of the reedbed. The yellow bill and completely black legs immediately confirmed it as a Great White. They bred in Norfolk last year. I suspect with the number we have around us the event will be repeated and become the norm.


Go North

A couple of weekends ago we were in the North of England; more about that at a later date. I was surprised to see so many Great White Egrets around that far north. One settled. It was against the light, a bit ‘sticky’ and still quite distant but I thought it made an effective subject.


A little greatness

It’s strange. There were no little Egrets at the Lac du Der in France the other week; plenty of Great White Egrets but no Little’s. They are migratory and only come back to the region in summer to breed. How odd that they can be found here in the UK all year round.

2015 03 04 Great White Egret Lac D'Orient France_Z5A1252


Moving North

Great White Egrets have perhaps always occurred as accidentals within the UK.  Given the recent breeding records in the south of the country it was only a matter of time before records within Norfolk became somewhat common-place. There is a smattering of birds around us at the moment. We caught up with this one on the River Nar in the south of the county. A little distant but still nice to see and watch as it fished.

I suspect they are to follow in the footsteps of the Little Egrets as Mediterranean Species continue to move their breeding range north.

Great White Egret


Moving North

Last month Natural England confirmed that Great White Egrets have bred in Somerset this year. This is the first time the species has bred in the UK.

This mainland European species has been seen with increasing regularity in the UK during recent years. It is only in the last 20 years Great White Egrets hae fully colonised the Camargue in southern France where they are now regular and the photograph below was taken.

The species is known to return to the same nest site year upon year and it hoped that the pair at Avalon Marsh will be the forerunners of a new British colony. The female of the pair was ringed as a nestling in France and visited Lancashire, Wales and Gloucestershire before settling on the Somerset Levels as her home.

Yet another heron has joined others as a breeding species indicating global warming is pushing the species contour farther north.

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Apr 2023


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