Is there a great egret in Bushy Park? Reports of sighting split Teddington residents

  Posted: 21.11.20 at 14:30 by Ellie Brown

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Teddington residents cannot agree on whether there is a great egret in Bushy Park or not, recent comments on a Nextdoor post show.

Questions were raised over whether the big white heron-like bird spotted by Reka Bodor and others was actually a little egret, and not its rarer counterpart.

In the original post, Ms Bodor asked residents what species the bird she and her companion had seen on a walk belonged to, adding that she suspected it was a great egret.

While some commenters agreed with her and said that they too had seen the great egret, others suggested that what they had seen was its smaller lookalike, the little egret.

Local wildlife photographer Sue Lindenberg said it was definitely a little egret.

She said: “A friend saw it again today. I saw it a few weeks ago in the Woodland Gardens.

“We had a visit from a Great White Egret in July/August last year.”

James Tullo also pointed out that the great egret has a yellow bill, in contrast with the photos in the comment section which all showed a heron-like bird with a black bill.

Ann Jackson posted a photo from a video that her seven-year-old son Jasper Coates, a budding naturalist, had taken of a little egret.

Ms Bodor confirmed that this was the one she saw, indicating that it was in fact a little egret and not a great one that she and her companion had seen on their walk.

Others soon chipped in with their own tales of spotting egrets in Bushy Park.

One park lover shared a couple of photos of a heron and little egret fighting over a patch of water in the park.

He said the heron won the battle but that he later saw them further down the stream and the egret had sneaked back.

Another Teddington resident, Donna Pridham, commented that her husband had seen one
last week.

“He was very very pleased an (sic) excited!” she said.

Many said they had seen the egrets near the ponds in the park and also in the Woodland and Water Gardens.

“His name is Geoff, apparently,” added Sandy Leeson from Hampton Village.

The birds have also been seen in Crane Park, Brentford Canal, Longford River and the Thames.

Great egrets, also known as great white egrets, and little egrets are types of heron and part of the heron, storks and ibises family.

Great white egrets are rare in the UK with the RSPB estimating that there are only 35 of these in the country during the October to March wintering season.

They have a yellow beak, black feet and are about the same size as a grey heron.

Little egrets are smaller and have a black beak and yellow feet.

They are also more common, with an estimated 660-740 breeding pairs in the UK and 4,500 residents here during the wintering season.

In comparison, there are thought to be 13,000 grey heron nests in the country with 63,000 individual birds present over wintering.

Like grey herons, egrets live in wetland, grassland and marine habitats and mainly survive on fish, though great white egrets can also spear frogs and insects with their powerful beaks.

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