I spent the late afternoon at Stocker's Lake to try and see how many Little Egrets were coming in to roost. There were already at least 3 birds in situ when I got there, however their behaviour on arriving at the roost is to often perch in the open, before dropping down out of view, so I can't be sure how many other birds were already present.
By the time I had finished counting (the last bird that I saw came in at 16.43) I had reached the astonishing total of 49 birds - I suspect however that the true total could be even higher, since it is surprisingly difficult to pick up the birds coming in to roost as many of them come in quite high before rapidly dropping down into the roost and quickly disappearing from view.
Most birds came in either singly, or in two's, with one group of three.Aproximately 30% of the birds came in from the west (presumably having come up the Colne Valley) and the rest came in from the NE. It is really staggering that this many birds are wintering in the area considering the paucity of records along local river valleys (Colne, Chess and Misbourne) so one really has to ask the question - how far are they travelling to their feeding areas. The difficulty with monitoring Little Egret roosts is that most birds leave shortly after dawn and likewise many birds arrive only just before dusk.I have counted this many birds at Broadwater, but I haven't checked that roost there for some considerable time (I believe that Paul Lewis did check that roost recently and failed to see any). It is interesting to speculate whether the Broadwater birds have moved up to Stocker's - certainly it does seem to be an ideal roost site with plenty of shelter from winds in all directions.
I also counted 383 Fieldfares roosting there, along with a pair of Goosander and a drake Red Crested Pochard.