Page last updated at 10:30 GMT, Monday, 4 May 2009 11:30 UK

Park keepers save wild heron egg

Wild heron egg perched in netting
Keepers had to creep along the netting to rescue the wild heron egg

A poorly-constructed nest built by wild herons at a conservation park led to "heart-stopping" moments when keepers had to rescue an egg inside.

Two wild herons tried to create a heronry on top of the sea birds' enclosure at Kent's Wildwood park.

Keeper Chris Jewel said the birds built their nest on top of the enclosure netting and their egg ended up being left on a precarious perch.

He said staff crept along nets to save the egg which was put in an incubator.

'Collection of twigs'

Because the egg had been handled, the wild heron would not have incubated it, so keepers are now trying to hatch it, he added.

He said when they first saw the nest they thought a collection of twigs had fallen from a tree, but then they saw the egg.

They realised it would be smashed, so began a rescue attempt by first creating a new nest alongside the old one.

Then after "a few heart-stopping moments when a keeper had to creep along the netting", they rescued the egg, he said.

He added that the wild birds were attracted to the site by the hand-reared herons at the park near Canterbury.

Keepers have placed a fake egg in the new nest to try to encourage the wild herons to return.

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