Tuesday, 9 June 2009

OUT AND ABOUT WITH MAX: Egrets


Max is in the middle of his A-Levels at the moment, which is - I suppose - a perfectly valid reason for him not having done any bloggo stuff for yonks. However he has managed to sneak out a few times to sit in his car and listen to Tarkus with a peculiar look on his face, and occasionall to do a little bit of bird watching. He usually takes his camera with him, and over the last few months has built up a fantastic library of images of the wildlife of the Wells region of Somerset. Here, in a new series, are some of them...

Here, at a place called Shapwick, back in March, we see two rare egrets.

For those of you not in the know, egrets are any of several heron species, most of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes (usually milky white) during the breeding season.

Many egrets are members of the genera Egretta or Ardea which contain other species named as herons rather than egrets. The distinction between a heron and an egret is rather vague, and depends more on appearance than biology. The word "egret" comes from the French word "aigrette", referring to the long filamentous feathers that seem to cascade down an egret's back during the breeding season.

They were hunted to extinction in Britain during the 19th Century, mainly because the aforementioned feathers were so sought after.

However, they have been very succesful in recolonising the UK with four species existing here now..

However, it is unusual to see two species together at once, and Max was very pleased to be able to photograph a little egret Egretta garzetta (left) and a great egret Ardea alba (right) together.













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