Little Egrets 2
By David Element
The Little Egret Egretta garzetta only recently became established as a breeding species in the UK (1996) having undergone a natural range expansion in a probable response to climate change. These beautiful birds have undoubtedly enriched the British avifauna and they are extremely photogenic, hence providing the author with an excuse (should one be needed) to compile this collection of photographs. The bright yellow feet are used to disturb small fish and invertebrates (Stone Loaches Noemacheilus barbatulus, Three-spined Sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus, a juvenile Eel Anguilla anguilla and Freshwater Shrimps Gammarus pulex are the victims to be seen in these photographs). These prey items are struck unerringly with the Egrets' sharp bills. Some of the pictures have been deliberately underexposed in order to bring out the feather detail of these brilliant white birds as they were often brightly lit against dark backgrounds.
The photographs were taken during the winter of 2018-9 in a small London park where three Little Egrets have been appearing with increasing frequency and offering the patient viewer some intimate views of their behaviour. They are wonderfully animated creatures and therefore very entertaining to watch.