If you’ve been following us on Social Media over the past week or so, you may have seen us getting quite excited about a white bird which has been wandering around the Saltpans in front of our Visitor Centre recently. What you may not know is why.
This bird is the Little Egret. A smaller member of the Heron family, the Little Egret is white with a black bill, black legs and yellow feet. Although it is quite unmistakeable when recognised, many of our visitors have had to look twice, with some doubting their vision. This is because this particular bird is extremely uncommon in Scotland. In fact, their first breeding record in the whole of the UK was less than 20 years ago, and most bird guides claim that they are only found in the South of England.
However, climate change is driving natives of the Mediterranean such as the Little Egret further north each year, and the tidal estuary at Montrose Basin; especially the marshland areas such as the Saltpans, provide both a suitable habitat and plenty of fish and crustaceans for this bird.
Unfortunately, our Little Egret is, as far as we know, on her own at Montrose Basin, which means that we aren’t expecting her to have chicks. We can hope that it’s only a matter of time, however; with many migrants finding themselves in a more northerly location each year, until she finds a mate. Until then, we will appreciate this magnificent individual in all its glory.
Come down to Montrose Basin to check out the Little Egret along with a whole host of other wildlife and spectacular scenery!
Montrose Basin Visitor Centre Assistant