Little Egrets stretch their legs at Writtle College!

February 2013

Image for press release
(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Recent flooding in Essex may have caused problems across the county, but one species seems to be enjoying the watery conditions.

At Writtle College numbers of Little Egret are on the rise and the recent high water levels seem to be encouraging the bird out into the open.

Conservation lecturer at the College, Alan Roscoe, said: “They are definitely becoming bolder in their behaviour. The deeper water seems to be attracting the birds away from the secluded parts of the nearby rivers and out into the wider landscape. When the stream at the front of the College is close to flooding we regularly see them hunting for food.

“Little Egrets only started breeding in the UK in 1996 and they are still comparatively rare birds.”

Due to the fact that it still only breeds at a limited number of sites in this country, the Little Egret is on the RSPB’s amber list of birds, the second most threatened group in the UK.

Alan added: “The presence of this species shows the conservation value of our 220-hectare estate and, of the 46 bird species we recorded on our surveys last year, eight were red-listed and 12 were amber-listed – and having the egrets here certainly makes a nice change from all the crows and pigeons we usually see!”