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Little egrets breeding success

Wednesday 31st July

Little egrets breeding success

Earlier this summer a total of 16 little egret chicks were spotted in nests at our Besthorpe Reserve which is just beside the River Trent near Collingham, Newark. Having first bred in the UK in 1996, it is estimated that there are less than 700 breeding pairs here, so the discovery of at least eight pairs breeding in the Trent Vale is exciting news.

The birds were found during a long-term study of grey herons and following their discovery, each chick was fitted with a special coloured ring to help with future monitoring. The ringing was carried out by volunteers from the North Notts Ringing Group with support from the British Trust for Ornithology.

Click here to watch a video of the ringing

Once a rare visitor from the Mediterranean, little egrets are now a common sight around the coasts of southern England and have been expanding their range northwards, possibly due to climate change. The birds at Besthorpe are thought to be the most northerly breeding birds in the UK.

Whilst we kept the news a secret whilst the chicks were in the nest - now that they have all fledged successfully, we want to share the good news so that people can help us with tracking the birds.

We are now asking birdwatchers and local residents to let us know if they see the chicks. Each bird has a special coloured ring on its leg with a number which should be clearly visible for people using binoculars. Records of the ring numbers should be reported to Jim Lennon on 07900 608 437.

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