The egrets are returning to the Hunter Valley for the summer breeding season. This is a large puddle beside the road on Kooragang Island, and on our evening walk there were around twenty Great and Intermediate Egrets foraging in its murky depths.
A 1994 study identified thirteen active egret colonies between Sydney and the Queensland border, with the largest being at the Wetlands Centre here in Newcastle with over 2,000 active nests. Just six years later the number of breeding pairs had declined significantly - Great Egret by 80%, Intermediate Egret by 98%, Little Egret by 86%. Only the Cattle Egret remained relatively stable. Egrets no longer nest at Seaham Swamp.
Great Egret (Pictured above)
Pacific Black Duck