Rare great white egret chick hatches in UK for first time


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The Independent Online

A great white egret chick has hatched in England, making a new breeding bird record for the UK, Natural England has said.

The organisation announced last week that the bird - a species of heron - had nested in Britain for the first time.

Local birdwatchers spotted nesting activity on the Shapwick Heath Reserve, in Somerset, earlier this year.

The bird's nest, concealed deep in the reed beds, has been under constant watch since April.

But it was not until Tuesday that volunteers on the monitoring team spotted one chick and had glimpses of what might have been a second.

The presence of at least one chick was confirmed yesterday morning by Natural England's great white egret project officer Kevin Anderson.

"We've definitely seen one chick stretching a wing just before the adult arrived and also after it left and we continue to monitor for more," Mr Anderson said.

"The eggs of the great white egret can hatch over a period of a few days so it may be that if there are other young on the nest they will be less developed and won't be visible yet."

The great white egret is more usually found in mainland Europe, but in recent years there have been increased sightings of the birds in England.

Simon Clarke, senior reserve manager at Shapwick Heath, said: "This is what we had all been waiting for.

"We are all delighted that we have Britain's first breeding record for great white egrets at this special site.

"We now look forward to watching its first tentative steps and flights out over the reed bed."

Mr Hunt was asked by the barrister representing Lord Justice Leveson if he would have sent the text at 4.58pm on that day.

He replied: "No, I don't think I would."

Prime Minister David Cameron ruled that responsibility for media policy and competition would pass to Mr Hunt from Business Secretary Vince Cable.

He made the move after Mr Cable claimed to have "declared war" on the News Corporation media empire run by James Murdoch's father Rupert.

The Prime Minister ruled that Mr Cable would play no further role in News Corp's bid to take a majority stake in broadcaster BSkyB.