BLAGDON LAKE BIRDS

Great Egret



Great Egret Ardea alba (Linnaeus, 1758)

Great White Egret Ardea alba alba (Linnaeus, 1758)

(Uncommon resident & recent colonist)

  1. One, not aged, 31st Dec. 2010 (N.R. Milbourne. Photographed).
  2. One, adult, 11th June 2011 (N.R. Milbourne, R. Curber, C. Billinghurst et al. Photographed).
  3. One, not aged., 27th Sep. to 4th Oct. 2013 (N.R. Milbourne et al.).
  4. One, not aged, 10th April 2015 (M. Hynam).
  5. One, not aged, 22nd April 2015 (N.R. Milbourne).
  6. One, not aged, 13th-14th Oct. 2015 (G. Stacey, M. Hynam et al.).
  7. Two, not aged, 19th Oct. to 31st Oct. 2015 (N.R. Milbourne et al.).
  8. Four, not aged (two new), 1st-2nd Nov. 2015 (M. Hynam, N.R. Milbourne et al.).
  9. Six, not aged (two new), 3rd Nov. 2015 (N.R. Milbourne, A.H. Davis), presumed same four, 4th-6th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne et al.), three, not aged, 7th Nov. (per RBA report), two, not aged, 8th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne & BOC group), three, not aged, 9th-14th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne et al.), one, not aged, 15th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), two, not aged, 16th-17th Nov. (WeBS team), three, not aged, 18th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), two, not aged, 19th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), four, not aged, 21st Nov. (J. Jarvis et al.), three, not aged, 22nd Nov. (M. Gillett), one, not aged, 2nd-3rd Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), one, not aged, 6th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), one, not aged, 8th Dec. (P. Williams), one, not aged, 13th-17th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne, S. Ablitt.), one, not aged, 28th-29th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), one, not aged, 1st Jan. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne), one, not aged, 4th Jan. (P. Williams).
  10. One, not aged, 18th Aug. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne).
  11. One, not aged, 22nd Aug. 2016 (WeBS Team).
  12. One, not aged, 5th-7th Sep. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne), presumed same 10th-15th Sep. (N.R. Milbourne et al.), 18th-20th Sep. (N.R. Milbourne).
  13. Two, not aged, 21st-22nd Sep. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne), two, not aged, 23rd Sep. (N.R. Milbourne).
  14. Four, not aged, 24th Sep. 2016 (M. Hynam, N.R. Milbourne), three, not aged, 25th Sep. (N.R. Milbourne), two, not aged, 26th-27th Sep. (N.R. Milbourne, WeBS team), three, not aged, 28th Sep. (N.R. Milbourne), two, not aged, 29th Sep. (N.R. Milbourne), three, not aged, 30th Sep. to 1st Oct. (N.R. Milbourne, M. Hynam), two, not aged, 2nd Oct. (N.R. Milbourne), three, not aged, 3rd Oct. (N.R. Milbourne).
  15. Five, not aged, 4th Oct. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne, I. Stapp. Photographed).
  16. Fifteen, not aged, 5th Oct. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne), fourteen, not aged, 6th-7th Oct. (A.H. Davis, K.J. Hall et al.), fifteen, not aged, 8th Oct. (N.R. Milbourne), thirteen, not aged, 9th Oct. (N.R. Milbourne), ten, not aged, 10th Oct. (per Avon Birding).
  17. Seventeen, not aged, 11th Oct. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne).
  18. Eighteen, not aged 12th-13th Oct. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne), six, not aged, 14th Oct. (N.R. Milbourne), five, not aged, 15th Oct. (M. Gillett), eleven, not aged, 16th Oct. (N.R. Milbourne), eighteen, not aged, 17th Oct. (WeBS team), twelve, not aged, 18th Oct. (N.R. Milbourne), eleven, not aged, 19th Oct. (N.R. Milbourne), sixteen, not aged, 20th Oct. (N.R. Milbourne).
  19. Nineteen, not aged, 21st Oct. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne, P. Williams.), eighteen, not aged, 22nd Oct. (N.R. Milbourne), seven, not aged, 23rd Oct. (N.R. Milbourne), six, not aged, 24th Oct. (N.R. Milbourne), four, not aged, 25th Oct. (N.R. Milbourne), sixteen, not aged, 26th Oct. (N.R. Milbourne).
  20. Twenty, not aged, 27th Oct. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne), fifteen, not aged, 28th Oct. (A.H. Davis), sixteen, not aged, 30th Oct. (N.R. Milbourne).
  21. Twenty-four, not aged, 31st Oct. 2016 (N.R. Milbourne. Photographed), twenty, not aged, 1st Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), nine, not aged, 2nd Nov. (N.R. Milbourne et al.), six, not aged, 3rd Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), seven, not aged, 8th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), eight, not aged, 14th Nov. (WeBS team), three, not aged, 17th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), one, not aged, 18th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), sixteen, not aged, 20th Nov. (M. Hynam, N.R. Milbourne), three, not aged, 22nd Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), fourteen, not aged, 23rd Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), four, not aged, 24th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), eight, not aged, 25th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), ten, not aged, 26th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), fourteen, not aged, 28th Nov. (N.R. Milbourne), three, not aged, 1st Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), fourteen, not aged 2nd Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), fifteen, not aged, 3rd Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), nine, not aged, 4th-5th Dec. (M. Hynam, N.R. Milbourne), seven, not aged, 6th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), two, not aged, 7th Dec. (G. Daniels), ten, not aged, 10th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), seven, not aged, 11th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), nine, not aged, 13th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), nine, 13th-16th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne, A.H. Davis et al), ten, not aged 17th-18th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), nine, not aged, 19th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), seven, not aged, 20th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), eight, not aged, 21st-23rd Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), ten, not aged, 24th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), ten, not aged, 27th Dec. (per Rare Bird Alert), five, not aged, 28th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), six, not aged, 29th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), five, not aged, 30th Dec. (N.R. Milbourne), and six, not aged, 31st Dec. (N.R. Milbourne).

Whilst waiting and hoping to see a Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris fly west over the dam on 31st December 2010, as one had done on the previous evening at dusk, a white egret flew overhead high to the west. I glanced at it and continued scanning, then I suddenly realised it was probably a Great White Egret Ardea alba and fired off a series of photographs of it as it flew away from me. I asked John Martin (County Recorder) and Keith Vinicombe for an opinion on the pictures and finally decided to submit them with a description of events to the local Recorder's Committee who accepted it as the first site record.

At 1215 hrs on 11th June 2011 I spotted a Great White Egret when scanning Top End from Rainbow Point during the WeBS Count with Christine Billinghurst and Roy Curber. When we got to the hide we could see that the bird was in breeding plumage with aigrettes, grey bill and pink upper legs with no rings; so not the ringed bird that had been seen recently on the Somerset Levels. It stayed all afternoon showing on and off from Top End hide but had gone by the following lunchtime.

The recent upsurge in records has been quite phenomenal probably driven, in part, by birds breeding locally on the Avalon Marshes in Somerset (one of which, red AAF, was ringed as a nestling in 2016 and seen at Blagdon the same autumn). However, there is little doubt that there have been national influxes from the near continent over this period as well and it remains to be seen whether this apparent colonisation is permanent. I shall stop listing records from the end of 2016 and have, accordingly, changed the status to uncommon for the time being.

Bibliography (sources of information)

  1. Rose, Dr. H.E. Avon Bird Report, 2011. Avon Ornithological Group.

Updated 27 November, 2016