ADVANTAGES

With the bulk of its breeding population in eastern Europe and beyond, the species only started to become anything more than a vagrant to France in the 1980s, when up to five birds started to spend the winter in the Camargue. Wintering numbers increased slowly over the next decade, with 200 being counted in 1990. After that the pace increased, with 3000 counted in January 2007, and birds could be found almost anywhere across the country. The first breeding attempt took place in 1994, at the Lac de Grand-Lieu, south-west of Nantes on the River Loire, and shortly afterwards nests were located in the Camargue, on the Mediterranean coast, and in les Dombes near Lyon. By 2008 the total number of pairs had reached 200, of which the vast majority, 160, were at the Lac de Grand-Lieu. An offshoot of the colony here is in the marshes at , just to the east of the Brière marshes, another reserve area just north of the Loire. It was here that the female of the Shapwick pair was ringed in May 2009. With Little Bitterns having nested at Loxton Marsh (part of the Ham Wall reserve) in 2010, there is some speculation as to what the next 'southern species' on these Avalon marshes might be. It is perhaps then of some interest to note that a pair of Glossy Ibises bred successfully in 2011 at the Lac de Grand-Lieu! See for more information on that.

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