Wildlife spotting at the waterside 04 July 2017

WatersideCare Project Officer Lee shares his wildlife spots from the last few months ...

"A flash of white through bankside trees or a glimpse of sleek, shiny fur arching out of the water are signs of a bird and a mammal that are both appearing more regularly around our waterways.

"In recent years, otters and egrets have been spotted more often along our rivers, canals, becks and brooks. Both thrive in watery habitats with good water quality so, seeing an otter or egret reminds us how important these habitats are for our charismatic wildlife.

"Little Egrets are similar to a small heron but have completely white feathers, black legs and bright yellow feet. So, if you see what you think is a discarded white plastic bag by the river look again as it may be a bird not a bag.  Little egrets have made a remarkable rapid expansion northwards in their range. Not long ago, they would occasionally appear on the south coast saltmarshes, much to the excitement of local bird watchers. Now, we are seeing them all the way from Birmingham to Bottesford.

"Recently, WatersideCare volunteers reported seeing Little egrets in the urban areas of Stonehouse Brook in Senneleys Park in south Birmingham and on Bottesford Beck in Scunthorpe, not far from the Tata steelworks. Friends of Bottesford Beck also found evidence of otters on their site and volunteers from Bilbrook, near Wolverhampton, were delighted that a survey by the Environment Agency revealed signs of otter activity on their local brook. Urban canal groups are also seeing increases in otter sightings."