Stephen Moss @stephenmoss_tv. Little egrets have characteristic tufts of white feathers on the back of their heads. In the 1940s they suddenly began to expand their range, colonising both Australia and northern South America. The cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a cosmopolitan species of heron (family Ardeidae) found in the tropics, subtropics, and warm-temperate zones. 207076, Scotland no. Several pairs bred in England last year, and this autumn there has been an unprecedented count of 115 cattle egrets in Somerset, so it looks likely that they will follow the little egret and soon become a regular sight around cattle-grazed wetlands. Despite the similarities in plumage to the egrets of the genus Egretta, it is more closely related to the herons of Ardea. They are slightly smaller and stockier than the much more familiar little egret and have a yellow bill. The RSPB was first set up in 1889 to protect egrets, along with birds of paradise, as their beautiful feathers were being imported to the UK for women’s hats. The most recent estimate was about 1000 birds, so nothing spectacular yet, but we think this flock may be increasing so we're trying to confirm numbers and locations in the next few days. Mike. The little egret is a recent colonist, and is most common along the south and east coasts of England and in Wales. I'm sure that I'll come to these in due course, but as we have now run out of these challenge sheets, I'll be selecting from the full list of Minsmere species for my weekly species of the week blog. In fact, if you've watched any wildlife documentary about Africa or India, the chances are you've seen cattle egrets among the herds of zebras, wildebeests, antelope or even elephants. They all have bright white feathers, and the cattle egrets … The estuaries of Devon and Cornwall, Poole Harbour and Chichester Harbour hold some of the largest concentrations and they are also common in East Anglia. We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy, The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. All three egret species are fish eaters. Cattle egret have even been seen riding on elephants’ backs! the world. Egrets normally nest in large groups called heronries, alongside our native grey heron. Find out more about the partnership, © The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. Watch this space. Since the 1980s, little egrets which breed in western France have started heading north. They often spend time close to livestock and grab … They are widespread throughout Africa and the Indian sub-continent, as well as many parts of southern Europe. Egrets have only recently started colonising from southern Europe, and now three species can be found across the UK, right up into Scotland: Cattle, great white, and little egrets. I will, however, pick from many of the commoner and easier to spot species, as well sometimes focusing on rarer or trickier to spot species. The first redwings and fieldfares are slowly starting to arrive and a male brambling has been on the feeders this week. It roosts at Island Mere and spends much of the day feeding among the cattle at Eastbridge. Cancel; Paul Cousins 0; 24 Jan 2019 4:42 AM; A few more photo's . There has, however, been plenty to see in the dunes, with several stonechats, linnets, meadow pipits and a couple of Dartford warblers present. The latter is another species that has only recently started breeding in England (again in Somerset), and is occurring more frequently as the population spreads north across Europe. There have been five nests of cattle egrets on site, producing 11 youngsters. SC037654, Minsmere requires membership for participation - click to join. The red deer rut well underway, and the action can be watched from the Westleton heath footpath - with the added bonus of stone-curlew, woodlark and Dartford warbler in the same area. Originally native to parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, it has undergone a r… Identifying Cattle Egret A white heron in the UK is likely to be a Little or Great White Egret. to protect egrets, along with birds of paradise, as their beautiful feathers were being imported to the UK for women’s hats. In fact, it has often been possible to see five different species of heron at Island Mere this week, with regular sightings of little egret, grey heron and bittern as well as another scarce species: great white egret. This was launched in spring 2017 to celebrate Minsmere's 70th birthday. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Bubulcus, although some authorities regard two of its subspecies as full species, the western cattle egret and the eastern cattle egret. However, last week I was sat in Island Mere Hide watching one great white egret feeding along the reed edge when three more flew in and settled at the west end end of the reedbed. As this range expansion has continued, they began arriving in the UK more frequently and eventually nested for the first time in Somerset in 2008. Great white egrets have also expanded their range northerly, from their native home of southern Europe. For those visitors who are intrepid enough to spend their time seawatching, the rewards have been good this week, with sightings of great skuas, Arctic skuas, gannets, red-throated divers (some even in summer plumage), brent geese, eiders and common scoters, but for most visitors a grey seal is a more likely sighting on the sea. Egrets have only recently started colonising from southern Europe, and now three species can be found across the UK, right up into Scotland: Cattle, great white, and little egrets. Island Mere has definitely been the place to be this week. Cattle egrets are small white herons. Cattle egrets breed in the UK for the first time. Later they colonised Central America, most Caribbean Islands, southern parts of the USA, New Zealand and parts of central Europe. This proved to be a record count for Minsmere. Up to four pintails can be seen among the hundreds of teals, wigeons, gadwalls, amllards and shovelers on the Scrape. Now, almost a thousand pairs breed here each year! Mike B 0; 24 Jan 2019 6:22 PM; Lovely photos, and how apt to have a cattle egret with cattle so close by. They all have bright white feathers, and the cattle egrets have gingery fronts and heads. Cattle Egret, Ringstead GP, 9th June 2019 (Mike Alibone) Formerly a very rare vagrant, Cattle Egret has become a more regular sight in the UK in recent years, following several large influxes. Yesterday 4 Spoonbills apparently flew through. The first in 2007 saw over 200 arriving throughout Britain and Ireland and resulted in successful breeding in the Somerset Levels in 2008. Even more exciting, for those lucky enough to spot them, were a couple of yellow-browed warblers in the sluice bushes on Sunday, with another outside the Work Centre on Monday morning. Great white egrets and cattle egrets have yellow beaks, and little egrets have black beaks. As well as the herons, there have been regular otter sightings, calling water rails, several bearded tits, a singing Cetti's warbler, up to six marsh harriers and good numbers of gadwalls, shovelers and mallards. 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