As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 4 August 2017

Great white egret bird returns to New Forest wildlife reserve ready for winter

Aaron Shaw  Trainee Reporter

ONE of the UK's rarest birds has returned to a Hampshire wildlife reserve.

Known as Walter, the great white egret is a familiar sight to the thousands of visitors that visit the Blashford Lakes Nature reserve near Ringwood every year.

Great white egrets are one of the rarer feathered visitors to the UK, and the bird usually arrives in the UK in August ready for winter, which Walter has done since 2003.

He spends six months at the reserve which is managed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Bob Chapman, reserves officer said: "Walter has become a much loved winter fixture on the reserve and although not the rarity he was when he first turned up, he is still a great sight.
"Especially good views can be had when he is fishing close to the Ivy North hide, where sometimes he can be seen alongside kingfisher and bittern in the water."

A similar size to a heron, the great white egret was close to extinction in Europe a few decades ago, with around 35 spending their winter in the UK.

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