Little Egret

Many thanks to Margaret Nisbet for sending in this week’s picture of a Little Egret down on the coast.

We are at an interesting stage in the colonisation of the Forth coast by these southern herons.

From no visits, to a few visits per year, to the current situation whereby Little Egrets have now been seen locally in every month of the year.

Surely the next stage is local breeding by this exotic species?

It seems, and indeed is, only a few years since the same situation down on the English south coast saw the species establish itself as a new British breeder.

Slowly but surely these British born Little Egrets have spread northwards.

Having been lucky enough to travel widely in search of wildlife, I cannot see Little Egrets without thinking them out of place. The various white species of Egret are more familiar to me as residents of sun-kissed tropical beaches, rivers and lakes.

To think they have been seen in the Lothians even in mid winter is quite difficult to believe.

However, the story gets even better – the pioneering Little Egret has now been followed into England by Great Egret and Cattle Egret.

How long will it be before these speecies also grace local shores?

Cranes and even Ibises are now establishing themselves in the U K.

We are becoming used to bad news stories of diminishing wildlife. It is good to realise there are also good news nature stories to be told.

I thank Margaret for reminding me of this one.