Little Egrets breeding in the Cotswold Water Park
LITTLE EGRETS have successfully bred at the Cotswold Water Park Trust's Cleveland Lakes Reserve, near Ashton Keynes, marking the first breeding of this species in the Cotswold Water Park.
During May, when the weather was so wet and windy, the Little Egrets produced two nests and young were seen the day after some particularly stormy weather.
Their survival is all the more remarkable when you see their nests; they are small, sparse and spindly on the outer branches of trees which look far from wind-proof.
At least five juveniles have fledged and the young Little Egrets can now be seen feeding with adults around Cleveland Lakes Reserve.
Cotswold Water Park Trust volunteer Kim Milsom has been working hard throughout the year monitoring the breeding of Grey Heron and Little Egret and other breeding waterbirds of Cleveland Lakes.
Kim has been monitoring the waterbirds of Cleveland Lakes Reserve since 2009.
"To see four pairs successfully breeding on their first attempt, and in a year of such poor weather, is fantastic."Gareth Harris, biodiversity officer for Cotswold Water Park Trust
"Supporting the Cotswold Water Park Trust in recent years by monitoring the great success of the habitat creation at Cleveland Lakes has had a number of highlights, but the successful breeding of the Little Egrets, the first in the CWP, is perhaps the greatest," he said.
"On every following visit, I feared that the summer's gales and driving rain may have destroyed the nests, but the chicks seemed very resilient and the parents did a great job and successfully reared at least five young."
Gareth Harris, the trust's biodiversity manager, said: "Although Little Egrets breed elsewhere in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, this is the first confirmed breeding for the Cotswold Water Park, albeit somewhat overdue.
"They have been demonstrating breeding behaviour at Cleveland Lakes Reserve for the last two to three years, so a breeding attempt has been expected. To see four pairs successfully breeding on their first attempt, and in a year of such poor weather, is fantastic."
For more information about the Cotswold Water Park, volunteering for the trust or membership of the trust, go to waterpark.org