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Monday, 7 September 2009

Colour-ringed GREAT WHITE EGRET in Hampshire

Thanks to Dr Loic-Marion of the CNRS-University of Rennes, France, I am now in a position to document the full history of the colour-ringed EUROPEAN GREAT WHITE EGRET that has repeatedly visited Britain (and in particular Hampshire) since August 2003. I am also extremely grateful to all of you that kindly responded to my request for photographs of this colour-ringed individual, including Martin Bennett and Norman Hunt (see above).

The bird was first ringed as a nestling at Lac de Grand-Lieu (Loire Atlantique, NW FRANCE) on 4 May 2003 (one of two birds unfortunately ringed with the same combination) (metal rings CA 62372 and CA 62420).

The bird was first seen at Sturminster Marshall GP (Dorset) on 16 August 2003, moving to Mockbeggar Lake and Ivy Lake, Blashford (near Ringwood), on 21 August 2003. It then returned to Sturminster, where it was present on and off until 26 October before returning once more to Mockbeggar from 31 October to at least 24 January 2004.

It reappeared at Blashford on 5 November 2004 and remained in that area until at least 23 January 2005, It was most frequently observed on Ibsley Water but was also seen adjacent to the River Avon at Ibsley on 2, 9 and 23 January. It returned on 17 July 2005 and was recorded almost daily until 7 December.

It was back again in 2006, where it appeared on cue at Rockford Lake, Blashford, on 3 July. It then remained in the Blashford Lakes area until the end of the year and was last seen that winter on 21 January 2007.

It made repeat visits again to Mockbeggar and environs from 7 September 2007 to 25 January 2008 and from 16 August 2008 to 24 January 2009. It is remarkable how its departure in midwinter has always been within a 1-week period in late January in recent years.