These birds are a smaller relative of the heron and were a rare sight in Britain until a few years ago. They are white with black legs and yellow feet and when breeding have long ornamental plumes on the backs of their heads and back.
Little egrets are encountered virtually throughout the whole Helford system, including Prisk Cove and Nare Point, with concentrations in all the main creeks. They can be seen in the trees, fields and mudflats around the Helford estuary and nest colonially alongside grey herons in the trees next to the river.
From singles at Gweek in 1957 and 1965, numbers increased dramatically in the early 1990s to the current 20+ and rising when juveniles appear.
Helford breeding success has been achieved during the ten years following a first reported attempt in 1996 noted in the HVMCA Survey. (breeding was first accepted in the UK on Brownsea Island in 1996 and this still remains a large and significant roost).