The Little Egret (or Egretta garzetta) is one of my favourite birds. They are a beautiful, pure white with dark legs and beak. They also have yellow feet. They are in the same family as herons, other egrets and bitterns – Ardeidae.
According to the RSPB’s website, they were first seen in significant numbers in Britain in 1989. They successfully bred and colonised over a couple of decades that they are now a common sight in various parts of Britain. Personally, I see them every week, almost without fail, at the Godmanchester Nature Reserve. I’ve also seen them down on the Hampshire coast near the New Forest this year too. You are more likely to see them over Autumn and Winter as birds from the continent migrate and join their British cousins.
They look similar to herons, but much smaller. They also stalk their prey in much the same way with a lightning fast strike at a fish! We had the pleasure of watching a Little Egret do just that on our honeymoon in the New Forest. They don’t seem to mind fresh or salty water from my experience.
The are generally very quiet birds, like the Grey Heron, but they will make various calls when breeding and will make an alarm call if disturbed.