Known as ‘Walter’, the fourteen-year-old bird has been a familiar sight to the thousands of visitors that visit the popular New Forest nature reserve every year.
Great white egrets are one of our rarer feathered visitors to the UK; until the 1990s they were mainly found in central and Eastern Europe. However their ranges spread and now they have become scarce winter visitors across southern England with a handful even staying to breed.
Walter usually arrives in August to spend his winters at Blashford Lakes nature reserve, as he has done since first arriving as a juvenile in 2003. He spends about six months on and around Blashford Lakes nature reserve before leaving again in mid-February. He can be identified as the same bird from the colour rings placed on his legs as a nestling in the Loire valley, France by trained bird experts.