Somerset

Hundreds of herons nest in Somerset wood

Grey heron eating an eel
Image caption Swell Wood is popular for herons because it is close to the feeding grounds of the Somerset Levels and Moors

More than one hundred heron nests are expected at Swell Wood, near Taunton, this spring, a bird charity has said.

The woods, run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), is home to the largest breeding site for herons in south-west England.

Swell Wood is popular because the trees are large enough to carry the weight of the birds.

RSPB warden Steve Ross said: "It's a great big pile of twigs on top of a tree, it's quite a sight to see."

Apart from herons, more than 12 pairs of little egrets are expected to return to nest at the wood.

Mr Ross added: "The little egrets are a fairly new breeding species in the UK. They first started recolonising the south coast in the mid-1990s. The numbers have been increasing throughout the area.

"We had 12 pairs last year nesting at Swell Wood. These are fairly white birds so you can see a brilliant flash of white at the tops of the trees."

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