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Little egret citizen survey - the results

Posted on 15 Sep 2020

Reserve warden David asked for the support of visitors to help him with a survey in August 2019, to help monitor the activity of little egret on site. That survey is now complete and we're pleased to see some great data from visitors that has helped us gather interesting insight into these birds.

First spotted on site in May 1996 having only first appearing in the UK 7 years previous, sightings have increased substantially here and they continue to impress visitors with their slender frame and vibrant white plumage.

Results from the survey highlighted peak sightings during September and October. Their behaviour while on site was largely around displaying, but the main activity noted was fishing, using their sweeping foot action to disturb the ground underneath the water. The most regular sightings were on the saline lagoon and the river Wear fishing.

Despite numerous attempts of nesting in our heron hedges overlooking Wader Lake, they are yet to settle. However, with increased sightings and lots of displaying and mating observed, we're hopeful that it's just a matter of time before they successfully breed on site.

With your help, we have managed to build a picture of their movements, picking out main activities and key locations, while getting to know their behaviour a bit better than before.