Tuesday, August 12, 2014

E IS FOR....

E is for...
EGRET
not just any EGRET but my Egrets -- at least they live in the creek at the bottom of my garden. 

The sun was beginning to set last week when I took these photos, so they are a little over-exposed and probably over-edited.  This is the Snowy EGRET. I see them often but I don't always have my camera with me so when I saw these at the bottom of my garden just down in the creek  and knowing that the letter E was next for ABC WEDNESDAY, I ran inside and  grabbed my camera.

I haven't seen them in the tree like this before. He was about 30 feet up and shining brightly in the sun. The bright white didn't photograph too well in my inexpert hands. At sunset the sun shines directly from the west,  straight down the creek. But you can clearly see his yellow feet, black legs and black bill.

Our poor creek is certainly not looking at its best right now. We have had only a little over two inches of rain since last July on top of four years of drought.  The creek bed is quite sandy and even when  it looks adequately full after rain, it drains away in less than 24 hours, usually leaving a nicely running stream. There is always some water in the creek from the sprinklers.  The park managers allow the gardeners to use them on the banks of the creek twice a week.  This is well water, not city water.   I kept the above photo even though he wasn't looking at me, because at least there is enough water for a reflection.


Sorry these photos are not really as good as they should be, but you can still see the egret's fancy plumes on his head and back.  This is a bit late for breeding season, but our long, long summer has made them a little flirty.  The male sat in the tree for quite a long while looking quite hunch-backed, but when he saw the female arrive, he stretched out his long neck and did a flirty little dance flapping his wings and prancing down after her.


I don't know if this is the male or female but he/she moved quite quickly up stream on his long legs, a little while later. Last summer, not long after we moved here, I only saw one pair of these birds in the park.  This year I have seen at least two pair and there maybe more because I wasn't paying too much attention to them to begin with, thinking they were as numerous as the cattle egrets I had seen elsewhere.  Now that I have recognized them as Snowy Egrets, I will endeavor to get some better photos 

I believe these birds are still on the protected list because of legislation in 1918.  Their numbers were dwindling rapidly around that time because their fine, graceful plumes were highly popular with the ladies for decorating their hats!

What a privilege to have these birds dancing and nesting less than fifty yards away from my back yard!

******
This is my entry for ABC Wednesday, that most popular and prestigious project in its 15th round, started by Mrs. Nesbitt and continued by Roger Owen Green along with many other volunteers who help make this an outstandingly successful blog.  Please click HERE to see just how successful it is. 

15 comments:

ellen b. said...

Oh that is a treat to have Egrets so close. I'm always happy to see an Egret or a Heron when I walk in areas that they frequent.

Zoe Brener said...

Gorgeous photos of gorgeous creatures. You are, indeed, lucky.

Roger Owen Green said...

I worry for you Californians, which includes one of my sisters and her daughter.

ROG, ABCW

Wanda said...

Lovely pictures Chris. The ones with reflections are great.

Reader Wil said...

Excellent post, Chris! Your photos are beautiful. I hope that you will soon have a good downpour
Wil, ABCW Team.

Mersad said...

That bird looks so beautiful and delicate. Lovely shots!

Mersad
Mersad Donko Photography

mrsnesbitt said...

Love it Chris - company indeed - I have my hens lol!
Denise ABC Team

Joy said...

Lovely bird to have on your doorstep. My first experience of an egret was in France but in recent decades they have started to breed in England. No snowy ones though:-(

Black Jack's Carol said...

And what a wonderful Entry indeed! No apology needed for the photographs, Either. I loved them! You are privileged to have such a beautiful species near you. I've never seen an Egret myself, but sure appreciated seeing yours through your Eyes.

Ann said...

Such a beautiful creature and how fortunate you are that they live near you. Hope your rainfall will turn around for the good.
Ann

Leslie: said...

Hi Chris...lovely photos and aren't you lucky to have these beautiful birds in your neighbourhood. Here we have Great Blue Herons and I have managed a lot of good shots of them.

leslie
abcw team

Gattina said...

I think your photos look very well ! Didn't know the name "Egret", learned something new !

charuhasacharya said...

Lovely pictures.
You are so lucky to have a creek and beautiful birds nearby.

kaybee said...

He/she is a beautiful egret, and very photogenic! The reflections are beautiful. You are blessed with so much beauty around your home and neighbourhood!

Morning's Minion said...

I've seen egrets when traveling in Florida. It never occurred to me that they also inhabited California!