14 February 2014

Extreme Egret

We have previously posted on the amazing movements of one of our most recent colonists; the Little Egret. Reports of foreign-ringed Little Egrets have so far come from the Netherlands and the Channel Islands, but Little Egrets ringed in the UK and Ireland have been found in the Azores, the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands, France, Spain and the Netherlands (see below).

The two longest-distance recoveries to date are a bird ringed in Bangor, Wales, seen in the Canary Islands (2,923km) and a bird ringed in Galway, Ireland, seen in the Azores (2,133km). Coincidentally, these were both juveniles found following severe cold weather for the UK and Ireland in 2010, or more likely it could be just the erratic dispersal of Little Egrets.

We are now going to have to change the map, as another pioneering Little Egret from the same colony in Galway has been seen in Iceland! Little Egret H-D (pictured below, when ringed as a chick) was ringed by Chris Benson on 4th June 2013, and subsequently seen with four unringed birds in Iceland on 20th October, over 1,200km from Galway. As you might expect, Little Egrets are very rare in Iceland, so it is interesting to speculate whether this will be the next country to be colonised by this species?

The bird on the left is the extreme traveler (photo David McNicholas)
For more information about both of these amazing movements from Ireland, and the ringing project in general, click here.

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