Little Egrets, Caherfealane, October 2016 (M.O'Clery).
The first Little Egret recorded in Kerry was in September 1957 at Blennerville and was at the time the 6th Irish record. By the 1990s it was pretty much annual and by the early 2000s - 'the noughties' - was averaging about 10 to 15 a year. The first double figure count was, surprisingly, also the first breeding record - 6 pairs nesting near Inch in spring 2006 - followed quickly by a count of 30 in that area the following August.
Double figure counts have been regular for several years now at Blennerville/Tralee Bay, and Castlemaine Harbour and occasionally at other sites such as Trabeg and Burnham Lagoon. However recent counts of this species have set the bar higher again, and then again in the space of a few weeks.
A new Kerry record of 70 were at Blennerville in the first days of September this year, but that record tumbled when Little Egret counts finally made into the hundreds. 116 were counted today on the eastern shores of Castemaine Harbour/ River Maine area, during a fruitless search for the Great White Egret. How long before that record count is broken again?
Little Egret, Castlegregory Marsh, June 2015 (M.O'Clery).
(with thanks to Ed Carty).