Cattle Egret on Islay

Last Saturday Ian Brooke made report of a Cattle Egret and published some more images today. Apparently this is the first time ever that a Cattle Egret has been seen on Islay. Ian also has an image of the Egret on his blog. Today, when Teresa Morris of Islay Wildscapes left Islay, she had an encounter with two Egrets and managed to take some pictures of one of these first time visitors on Islay. I don't know much about this beautiful bird, Wikipedia has the following information on it: The Cattle Egret is a cosmopolitan species of heron found in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate zones. Originally native to parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, it has undergone a rapid expansion in its distribution and successfully colonised much of the rest of the world. The Cattle Egret has undergone one of the most rapid and wide reaching natural expansions of any bird species. It was originally native to parts of Southern Spain and Portugal, tropical and subtropical Africa and humid tropical and subtropical Asia. In the end of the 19th century it began expanding its range into southern Africa, first breeding in the Cape Province in 1908. Cattle Egrets were first sighted in the Americas on the boundary of Guiana and Suriname in 1877, having apparently flown across the Atlantic Ocean. It was not until the 1930s that the species is thought to have become established in that area.

The species first arrived in North America in 1941, bred in Florida in 1953, and spread rapidly, breeding for the first time in Canada in 1962. It is now commonly seen as far west as California. In Europe the species had historically declined in Spain and Portugal, but in the latter part of the 20th century it expanded back through the Iberian Peninsula, and then began to colonise other parts of Europe; southern France in 1958, northern France in 1981 and Italy in 1985. Breeding in the United Kingdom was recorded for the first time in 2008 only a year after an influx seen in the previous year. In 2008 cattle egrets were also reported as having moved into Ireland for the first time.

Cattle Egret

Tag: birding wildlife cattle egret seasonwatch

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Tuesday, 27 October 2009
This was certainly interesting for me, as I'm in Florida, where cattle egrets are as common as sparrows. I have a low place in ground behind my house, and when it's going to rain, the egrets begin lining up all around it . They wait quietly for the little frogs to emerge, and then it's feasting time. We also have the larger egrets, and they are regal, beautiful birds.


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Thanks for the info Diana. It must be strange for you to read about all the excitement on Islay when you have them by the dozens in Florida. Perhaps they will become common on Islay as well, I understand that they are spreading quite rapidly. They are really nice birds :-)

I'd rather be on Islay :-)