Ralph visits gym to confirm Crayford Little Egret roost

Ralph Todd, well-known for his study of local birds, has been wondering where the Little Egrets seen in the Borough roost for the night. A few years ago former Cray Riverkeeper Ashe Hurst had mentioned the trees downstream of Crayford industrial estate. Following recent observations by myself that Little Egrets were coming over Thames Road Wetland from the marshes, and heading up the river, suggesting the roost was still there, Ralph took up a position near the Europa Gym off Maiden Lane on the evening of 22nd March. He reports that he had 8 little egrets come into roost in the trees between the rivers Cray and Wansunt and the gym, one group of 4 coming in at 18.22.

Little Egret Foots Cray Meadows - Joe johnson 2

Little Egrets roost together in trees at night. Joe Johnson also captured this photo of  one in a tree at Foots Cray Meadows.

Ralph went on to say that “The maximum seen at Crayford / Dartford marshes seems to be 4”. Single birds are also seen from time to time on the Shuttle, at Hall Place, Foots Cray Meadows and, of course, at Crossness on Erith Marshes. So 8 or so may be all or  most of the ‘resident’ Bexley population, or maybe any Little Egrets in the south of the Borough roost elsewhere. If anyone has any more information on this subject please contact Ralph at rbtodd@btinternet.com

Ralph Todd, working on one of his Bexley Bird Reports, has been taking a closer interest in Lepidoptera recently.

Ralph Todd, working on one of his Bexley Bird Reports.

The trees where Ralph has confirmed a roost still exists are the first reasonably dense array upstream from the marshes, and have the benefit of being fenced off on one side and protected by the river Cray on the other.

Little Egret (Photo: Ralph Todd)

The Little Egret first appeared in the UK in significant numbers in 1989 and first bred in Dorset in 1996. Colonization followed naturally from a range expansion into western and northern France in previous decades.  (Photo: Ralph Todd)

‘BW’ would welcome photos – or better still video footage – with the usual consideration that the bird’s behaviour is not disturbed and there is no trespassing. Distance and lighting conditions will present a challenge given the time of day. We do not know what time they leave in the morning …..

Chris Rose

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