Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snowy Egret II

I did a meager one picture post on the snowy egret last year because I had only one picture of a snowy egret on my visit to Florida. This year I had much better luck, seeing and photographing them in three different settings. 

The snowy egret is an amazingly beautiful bird, but its seductiveness varies, much I suppose like a Broadway star. My first encounter with the dame this year was at Merritt Island along the Biolab Road. A solitary snowy egret was standing on a branch next to a canal, neck and head retracted, head nearly resting on her wings, appearing stoop shouldered. This is not Kitty, the ravishing Broadway performer on stage, but perhaps in her dressing room, in a sleep induced stupor, striving for motivation to move. Not ugly, but not the stunning creature that draws the crowd to the theater. I watched "Kitty" for 10 or 15 minutes, hoping to see her strut her stuff. Eventually she (although I have no idea if she is a she or a he) complied. She raised up, flew a short distance, black legs and yellow feet extended downwards, neck stretched out and wings raised up, now slender, lean and long, across the road, to rest on a metal culvert. Now beautiful plumes glisten as they erupt off her neck, chest and back, like sunspots, her neck holding her proud head high. She was glamorous, but she can do better than this, I know. This was just a rehearsal, and it was a metal culvert after all. It is mating season that will brighten her colors, and one of her opposite sex that will bring on the strut. But I got a tantalizing glimpse, a beckoning call from the elegant bird that was nearly brought to extinction because of the demand for her plumes which were used for women's hats.
Snowy egret on Merritt Island

At Sanibel Island I saw hundreds of snowy egrets stretched out over hundreds of yards in the shallow water flats, with a few roseate spoonbills along the fringes. I wonder what makes them gather? What keeps other bird life from joining in? This was quite a contrast to my solitary introduction to Kitty several days earlier.  
Hundreds of snowy egrets on Sanibel Island

Finally, at Shark Valley in Everglades National Park I encountered another solitary snowy egret, but this time she was a little more dolled up. Her beautiful long yellow and black legs stood out, matching her black bill with yellow base. Her posture and bearing exuded her beauty. I would love to see her during mating season. 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful bird, but probably very high maintenance. Keeping those fluffy feathers well-groomed has got to cost a lot.