Little egret sightings but is there one or more?

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Last month, December 2021, I received 17 records of little egret from 12 locations on Arran. Records stretched from Merkland Point in the north through Brodick Bay, Lamlash Bay, Whiting Bay, Kildonan to Sliddery Shore. All records were of a single bird. Was it one bird flying about or more than one? For example, there was a record of one in Whiting Bay on 29th, followed on 30th by one in Kildonan in the morning and one in the afternoon by Fisherman’s Walk, Brodick.

To try to answer this question I would be pleased to have any reports of little egret. From Nick Giles’ photograph, this well named little white egret is an easily recognisable bird.

It used to be a rare bird in the UK. Following an expansion across Europe, Little Egret first appeared in the UK in significant numbers in 1989 and first bred in Dorset in 1996. In Ireland it first bred in 1997, the first in Wales was 2002, and the first breeding record in Scotland was in Dumfries and Galloway in 2020.

The first Arran record was a single bird on Sliddery Shore on July 1, 2013. It did not linger. The second record was in 2017 and this bird lingered from Friday August 4 to Monday August 7, mainly in Sandbraes. Since then, the number of records has built up. In 2018 there were 14 records from 12 locations. In 2019 there were 28 records from 17 locations. Last year, 2021, there were 52 records. It may be becoming established and may in time join our resident Grey Heron as a breeding species.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy your birding and keep safe.

Please send any bird notes with ‘what, when, where’ to me at Kilpatrick Kennels, Kilpatrick, Blackwaterfoot, KA27 8EY, or email me at

I look forward to hearing from you. For more information on birding on Arran purchase the Arran Bird Report 2020 and the Arran Bird Report, the first 40 years. Plus visit the website

A little egret wading in water.