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Egrets? We've got a few

Last modified: 23 April 2008

Close-up of great white egret, facing left

It's the first time two great white egrets have been seen together in Scotland

Visitors to the RSPB’s Loch of Strathbeg nature reserve at Crimond have witnessed an amazing sight, with a rare bird making an unprecedented double appearance. 

A great white egret that appeared on the reserve on Monday morning was only the seventh to be seen in Aberdeenshire... and then remarkably, a second great white egret arrived on the reserve the next day, the first time two have been seen together in Scotland.  

The great white egret is a large species of heron, with all white plumage, whose nearest breeding colonies are in the Netherlands. These birds were probably carried across the North Sea on the recent easterly winds. RSPB Scotland’s David Parnaby said: 'We have been carrying out a huge amount of work to improve the habitat for wetland birds at the reserve in the last couple of years, so it's no surprise that many unusual birds call into the site.'

'There is always something to see at the reserve'

Amazingly, the Loch of Strathbeg reserve is also currently playing host to a little egret, which has been present since Christmas Eve. David said: 'The little egret is a scarce spring migrant to north-east Scotland, so to have one spend the winter here is unheard of. The fact that you can now watch it feeding in the same pools as a great white egret is an incredibly rare occurrence in Scotland. 

'I hope these birds will stay around and give people the chance to see them, although there is always something to see at the reserve. The Visitor Centre is open between 8 am and 6 pm and during the weekend, we have volunteers on hand to help people to see what’s here. With terns back on the reserve, a marsh harrier around during the week and lapwings now nesting in the new wetland habitat, there will be plenty for people to see.'

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