Egrets are such beautiful birds. They seem to be graceful and elegant all the time. Well, except for when they are feeding their young, then it seems like they take their life in their hands. Err, beaks.While I can take pictures of egrets just a couple of minutes from home, it’s impossible to resist taking pictures of them no matter where you find them.
She pulled into her carport, her mind on thoughts of putting her groceries away and what she might make for dinner later on. The carport was narrow enough that she had to fold her mirrors in, and even then there was barely enough room to pull in and still have room to open the door on the driver’s side to get out. It was especially tight that afternoon, and she squeezed herself out of the car and turned to walk out, and that’s wen she saw him. The intruder. She hadn’t seen him when she pulled in, he had made not a sound. She was completely taken by surprise, and he stood there blocking her way to leave and get to the safety of her house. She stopped short and they stared at each other, until she finally said, “Hello.”
He was young, inexperienced, she knew that by looking at him. She was sure he had panhandling on his mind. But he was barking up the wrong tree, so to speak, because she knew that he needed to learn to fend for himself if he was going to grow and thrive into adulthood. They live in a very rich environmental area for him take care of himself, she was sure of that. So she moved toward her door and he backed off, but only a little. And when he finally decided to move on she was glad. Even though he was moving down the street to another house where I’ve heard they do feed him.
The lasting thought from this encounter was to wonder how in the world she had not seen him as she pulled into her driveway. Was she daydreaming, not looking? She vowed to be more observant in the future…
This may be an official update but not a whole lot has changed at the rookery. I watched the egret nest I’ve been taking pictures of for quite a while. Mom just stood over the nest and the biggest baby stood in her shadow much of the time. He was blocking the view of the other chicks in that nest and I was a little worried that he was the only chick remaining. But eventually he turned around and I was happy to see the others still present and accounted for. But as I watched I couldn’t help looking closely at all the nests to see if I could see more hatchlings. I thought I could hear them, but it took me a very long time to spot more, but I did. This one was easy to spot once Mamma stood up.And there will be more egrets too. Someone has an egg! She stood and let the sun warm the egg(s) for her for a while. Eventually I hope we will also have some wood storks, but they are keeping me waiting.
I’m sad to say that there was bad news from the eagle nest today, one of the eaglets has died. A scope was sent up and the news was confirmed. It’s so much fun to follow the progress of these birds each year, but we always seem to get our hearts broken a little as nature takes it’s course. We just have to be happy for the chicks that make it and will carry on into the future.
The last trip my friend and I made to the rookery revealed a surprise. Two surprises really. First of all, it’s now obvious that there are three chicks in the egret nest. I wonder where that last one was hiding? And one is much bigger than the others. We witnessed the mom take exception to a nearby woodstork, which caused her to stretch out her neck in his direction and tell him a thing or two. What was funny about that was that the biggest chick was just beneath her doing exactly the same thing. Spunky little guy.
The second surprise is that there are chicks in another egret nest, but we weren’t able to get photos of them quite yet. Or count them.
It took the 600 mm lens to get these photos, taken while using the fence to steady the lens. And while I had it in my hands I attempted to take shots of a woodstork who took off while I was watching. I’m posting them because I was sure that I couldn’t hold the camera steady enough with that lens on the camera without the tripod. But I did.
My friend has also flown the coop, back to her own busy life. Friends are our biggest blessings all our lives, but especially now. I will miss her.
It was supposed to be a quick stop, after all I was on my way to the airport to pick up my closest, dearest friend for a visit. But I was early. Early enough to stop at Cypress Point Park and hope to see airplanes landing against a sunset-colored sky. That was as much of a plan as I had when I stopped at the rookery, fully prepared to see no new birdies there. Only there he or she was! This is the nest with the eggs that I’ve posted about before, and look as I might I haven’t spotted any other eggs in any other nest, despite all the apparent egg-sitting that I think I’m seeing. And there will be even more I’m sure, because I saw this…Somebody driving by yelled at me as I stood there on my ladder, something about giving them privacy. I’d feel guilty but really, how much privacy to they have anyhow? And I was looking to see the chick and this egret landed just on the other side of the fence and begged me to take her picture.I had to go back to the car and get my 600mm lens. It makes me happy to use it since I own it, but if I didn’t have the fence to lean it on I wouldn’t have been able to hold it steady. And that fence is quite rickety now, I hope I’m not responsible for that. At any rate I’m so happy to have my friend visiting, and so happy that our feathered friends have timed their appearance so perfectly for her to see them. It really was a red-letter day, with a week of them ahead of us.
Yesterday I said I ought to look up egrets to see, and be factual about, that behavior of theirs called ‘displaying’. What I found out made me think I’d create a post for them alone. And I’m glad I did because gloomy weather may keep me from being out taking pictures today, but I have lots and lots of egret pictures to work with.
It seems that in the late 1800s these lovely birds were endangered due to the fact that their feathers had become much desired in the fashion industry. But early conservationists were able to protect them, and this is how they became the symbol of the National Audubon Society. Did you know that? I didn’t.
So it seems they don’t reproduce until they are 2-3 years old, and the males select the nesting site, sometimes alone but often in colonies. At first he drives off other birds, but in the close quarters in which I see them I’ll have to take Wikipedia’s word for it for that information. And then he ‘displays’, fluffing, and stretching, and bowing, and hopefully finding a mate. They both feed their young by regurgitation, there are some details I could live without, but it’s nice to know that the males do their part. I had noticed that the birds I was seeing who were displaying did seem to be alone. Well, as alone as you can be in that situation. And if they are still trying to attract mates then it seems that the rookery will be a stop of mine for a while yet. Other photographers I know have beautiful sunrise settings right in their back pocket, so to speak. This rookery is my very own ‘back-pocket’ opportunity, and that’s a good thing.
I checked back to see when I first saw the eggs this year, and it was 17 days ago. Incubation is 23 to 26 days and I have no idea when those eggs were laid. I’m trying not to hold my breath in anticipation of the blessed event(s), but I so hope that my visitor will get to see this place in full swing. It really is a sight to see.