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Thread: Cattle Egret Colony

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jacqueline Burrell's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Cairo, Egypt

    Default Cattle Egret Colony

    This extract refers to the plight of cattle egrets in Egypt in the 1920s.

    "Reestablishment and Value of the Buff-backed Heron in Egypt

    As an instance of bringing back to abundance a nearly extirpated bird,
    and that for an economic reason, the treatment of Ardea ibis or Cattle
    Egret in Egypt is unique. The species has ornamental plumes, which
    although inferior to those of the true Egrets, were so tempting to plume
    hunters, that the birds were reduced from a widespread and abundant
    resident to a single colony of about 120 pairs. At this juncture, due chiefly
    to the efforts of Major S.S. Flower, a law was passed granting absolute
    protection to the "egret". A warden was employed to guard the existing
    colony, headmen of villages were notified of the value and protected status
    of the bird, and attempts were made to establish new colonies."

    Major Flower obviously undertook his tasks with great enthusiasm for now they are one of the commonness sights where ever there is agricultural land as well as any green spaces in the cities and on the golf courses, they even go paddling in the Red Sea!

    One of the largest colonies, however, is in Central Cairo where they can be seen gathering just before dusk in the tall shady eucalyptus and casuarina trees that line the main road that borders the Giza Zoo.

    At this time of the year, the colony is a frenzy of activity with nest repair and nest building as each year there are more and more birds squabbling and squawking.

    The photos were taken on two occasions from my car when I was stuck in the habitual traffic jams much to the amusement of the taxi drivers and occuants of the micro buses.

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    Last edited by Jacqueline Burrell; February 28th, 2008 at 03:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    Hi Jacqueline,
    Charming story and some good captures of the Cattle Egrets.
    There has been an "outbreak" of CEs,in recent months, I came across 11 on the coast of Brittany in December and when I arrived back in the UK,I noted that there had/has been numerous sightings in many of the counties.
    I wonder if this is a one off, or the start of a regular mass invasion as did the Little Egret before it.
    Amazing most women have to show a bit of leg to stop the traffic, but you manage to do it with just a camera, well done.
    regards David.

  3. #3
    Senior Member AndyB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Hi Jacqueline, nice photos. I remember years ago when I visited Cairo, getting to my hotel room and looking out the window to see scores of Cattle Egrets flying in to the trees below to roost. With the noise and bustle of Cairo, the scene seemed very exotic at the time.

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