In the last few years I have begun to re-engage with birding after a long hiatus. I wouldn’t quite say I lost interest in my teens; more than birding became one of many many things I was interested in, and one which I prioritised less and less.
One of the most striking things for me in returning to birding is just how common Little Egrets have become in Ireland. I have seen them, perhaps not unexpectedly, in Sneem and in Incheydoney on the South Coast, but also in Booterstown Marsh, the somewhat melodramatically named Wilderness Gorge in Clonmel and now, to my mind most starkly reinforcing their presence in Ireland, the duck pond in Carysfort Park in Blackrock:
(Little Egret from 1:55 and apologies for the quality)
Somewhat unlike this blogger, I am unsure if the presence of the egret is an unmixed blessing – is its spread not a sign of climate change? That being said, the bird itself is, to me, always a somewhat exotic presence, with is snow white plumage, particularly prehistoric beak and air of perpetually sunny coasts. I presume for the generation of birders born 20 years or so after me it is a completely expected, possibly even somewhat mundane (though I do not believe any creature is “mundane”) sighting. However for myself it will always remain a somewhat thrilling presence. We should take wonder where we find it.