On April 27, 2015, an event unique for the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve occurred. For the first time in history, a great egret has been recorded in its territory.
Another representative of the Heron family – the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) is typical for the Oka River. This bird often flies into small water ponds of the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve. Whilst the Great Egret (Ardea alba) is a south species, common in temperate and tropical latitudes. However, its distribution area is gradually increasing northward. Being rare, accidental birds for the Moscow region, recently beautiful herons with elegant snow-white plumages are found here more and more often.
On Monday, April 27, at about 17.00 Evgeny Grigoriev (the Director of the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve) observed a great white egret in a pond at the southern border of the Biosphere Reserve. This is the first stated case of a large white heron observation in the reserve territory.
Interesting facts: In XIX century white egret feathers were commonly used for aigrette (decorations for bonnets and evening hairstyles) manufacture. Destruction of about 300 birds is required for a single kilogram of feathers acquisition, making it as costly as gold. Statistics show in Paris alone more than 10000 people were busy with feathers trade and handling, and about 200000 white egrets were exterminated in the territory of the Great Britain annually.
Within a short time a threat of extinction hung over their population, and after a public protest a ban was imposed on commercial hunting, so the great white egret was taken under protection. The numerical strength of species started to increase gradually, but since the middle of the XX century, it once again began to decline due to nesting areas demolition.