Translated from SOVON bird research in the Netherlands:
The first national count of where the birds sleep this winter has resulted in a record number of great egrets. There are still results coming in, but, meanwhile, the counter is over 1000. That magic number had never been reached before. Great egrets sleep in all provinces. However, the highest numbers are from the eastern half of the country. We expect that as this winter continues, more and more great egrets will go to the west of the country. These numbers show that many of the wintering birds are from other countries. Basically, in the Netherlands the great egret breeding population is still limited to the colony in the Oostvaardersplassen. There, this year, “only” 50 couples have been breeding.
European Court condemns Ireland on insufficient bird protection: here.