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Little Egret: One or More?

Last month, December 2021, I received seventeen records of Little Egret from twelve locations on Arran. Records stretched from Merkland Point in the north through Brodick Bay, Lamlash Bay, Whiting Bay, Kildonan to Sliddery Shore. All records were of a single bird. Was it one bird flying about or more than one?  For example, there was a record of one in Whiting Bay on 29th, followed on 30th by one in Kildonan in the morning and one in the afternoon by Fisherman’s Walk, Brodick.

To try to answer this question I would be pleased to have any reports of Little Egret. From Nick Giles’ photograph, this well named little white egret is an easily recognisable bird.

It used to be a rare bird in the UK. Following an expansion across Europe, Little Egret first appeared in the UK in significant numbers in 1989 and first bred in Dorset in 1996. In Ireland it first bred in 1997, the first in Wales was 2002, and the first breeding record in Scotland was in Dumfries and Galloway in 2020.

The first Arran record was a single bird on Sliddery Shore on 1 July 2013. It did not linger. The second record was in 2017 and this bird lingered from Friday 4 August to Monday 7 August mainly in Sandbraes. Since then, the number of records has built up.  In 2018 there were fourteen records from twelve locations. In 2019 there were twenty-eight records from seventeen locations. Last year, 2021, there were fifty-two records. It may be becoming established and may in time join our resident Grey Heron as a breeding species.

I look forward to hearing from you.
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