Friday, July 3, 2009

Nice bird, shame about its voice




We spent an enjoyable couple of hours earlier this week watching little egrets in Wells-next-the-Sea harbour in Norfolk. These little herons first nested in Britain in 1995 and have since become an increasingly common sight around our coastline, steadily extending their range further north. They have a fascinating, hyperactive way of feeding, quite different from herons that stand immobile and wait for prey to stray within reach. Little egrets pace restlessly through the shallows, stopping every now and then to stir up the mud with one of their large yellow feet. Using this technique, they seemed to mainly disturb partially buried shore crabs, so that they could grab them with a quick stab of the beak as they scuttled away. These are certainly elegant little herons, albeit slightly manic in their feeding habits compared with our native grey heron, but their call is decidedly ugly - you can listen to it here -

4 comments:

  1. Great captures Phil, especially the flight shots.
    We get quite a few at one of the local lakes, but I've never heard one before. Probably because the Grey Herons are always making a racket.

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  2. Yes, that call sounds like a bird with a sore throat!

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  3. Great photos Phil. Maybe as well the camera doesn't have sound :)

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  4. Thanks for your comments, Rob, Keith and John. O only saw one of these exotic birds for the first time last year in Norfolk, and then saw them again on the other side of the country at Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria - I'm wondering how long it will be before they arrive at my local wetland nature reserve in Durham.

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