Saturday, 19 September 2020

Little Egret

Little Egret Egretta garzetta (Fr. Aigrette garzette) is a small white heron that feeds in shallow water or on land. They can be found in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe, nesting in colonies in trees, often with other heron species. Now the species has recovered from the depredations of the plume trade, when millions of birds were killed every year, they are once again breeding in France.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta. Charente-Maritime. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

 

The Brouage Marshes are perfect habitat for Little Egrets, who like open areas of swamp with ditches, especially where there are large grazing animals such as domestic cattle. They stalk their prey by slowly walking through the water or grass. They mostly eat fish, but anything that comes their way will be attempted -- amphibians, crustaceans, insects disturbed by the cattle, molluscs, small mammals and worms.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta. Charente-Maritime. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
 
Western France, where these photos were taken, is one of the strongholds of this species now in Europe.

Heronry on the Ile d'Oleron, Atlantic coast, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Heronry on the Ile d'Oléron, where Little Egrets and Grey Herons were nesting together.


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6 comments:

Colin and Elizabeth said...

We get many around us, sometimes in the garden.

Susan said...

They've certainly made a comeback in recent years.

chm said...

In the Salton Sea area we had several kinds of egrets and herons. It was a birder's paradise because the bird diversity was incredible. I enjoyed it very much.

Susan said...

I didn't realise that -- I thought it was an environmental disaster!

chm said...

Over the ages, the Salton Sink depression filled, at times, with water from the Colorado forming huge lakes that dried up when the river went back to its bed. In its latest avatar, the relatively small lake was fed almost uniquely from the percolating irrigation water coming from the extensive cultivation of the Imperial Valley. Now, the Water District sold some of its allotment of Colorado River water to San Diego, and to the desertic Coachella Valley where the one hundred twenty golf courses, and counting, must be kept green for the pleasure of rich people.
Consequently, much land is not irrigated anymore and left fallow. Not being really fed any longer the Salton Sea is shrinking, and drying up. As you say, it is an environmental disaster in the making.
Owens Lake, in the Sierra Nevada, is an older such disaster.

Here a website that might interest you, thefern.org There is an article on the Salton Sea on January 13, 2020. There are other interesting articles.

Susan said...

Thanks for that overview. I'll check out the website.

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