Sunday, 24 July 2011

Little egrets breed in Hertfordshire for first time

Little egrets at Amwell Nature Reserve

July 2011. Little egrets have bred for the first time in Hertfordshire at the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust's Amwell Nature Reserve.

Barry Reed, the Trust's volunteer recorder said: "An elusive pair of little egrets at Amwell Nature Reserve has kept local observers guessing all summer - they finally revealed their secret this week, when a brood of young were spotted in dense vegetation on the heronry island. It was a great pleasure to be able to confirm breeding in Hertfordshire for the first time, a much hoped for event following their colonisation of the UK during the last 15 years."

Tim Hill, the Trust's Conservation Manager said: "The presence of little egrets indicates that our work to improve wildlife habitats at a landscape scale is beginning to work. The egrets need a large territory: whilst they are breeding and roosting at Amwell, they fly ten miles or more along the River Lea and its tributaries, such as the River Mimram, to feed. As well as providing suitable habitat at Amwell we have been working with landowners and managers to conserve and improve rivers outside the nature reserve for little egrets, and a host of other wildlife."

Little egrets
The little egret is a stunning white heron which feeds on small fish and insects from the banks of rivers and shores of lakes. It has black legs with bright yellow feet. During the breeding season the birds develop long plumes of feathers on their heads.

Amwell Nature Reserve
Amwell Nature Reserve forms part of the Lee Valley, a chain of lakes and wetland habitats which runs down through the London Olympic Park before joining the River Thames. Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is working with partners here towards a ‘living landscape' - The Wildlife Trusts' vision of bigger, better wildlife areas which are joined together, where local people can benefit from access to nature.

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