Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cattle Egret, Assateague Island National Seashore

While photographing the Wild Ponies at South Ocean Beach on Assateague Island last week, I noticed a large bird landing on a perch at the top of a tree nearby. I turned and snapped a few quick images, not even sure what I was photographing. And as I culled through the day's 'catch' that evening, I realized minor research was at hand to identify this beautiful bird. He had way too much color on his body to be a typical Egret. Low and behold, I soon discovered he was a Cattle Egret, a small white heron.

Isn't he gorgeous? I learned Cattle Egrets eat the grasses along roadsides and are often seen following behind tractors and farm machinery to munch on the insects they stir up. Hence, not the typical wading heron you normally see hanging out in lagoons and swamplands. Notice his reddish markings on the back of his head and on his feathers on his back. He also has a shorter, more sturdy bill, than a typical heron.

Did I mention I got to add this bird to my Life List. My trip to the Eastern Shore was worth every dime. The wading birds were everywhere and I enjoyed the fact that if you got a little close to them, they wouldn't fly off like they do here in Kentucky and Indiana. My guess, they're used to the many visitors to these areas off the national seashore. On a side note, today is sunny and 75 degrees with a cool breeze and no humidity. Yes, I'm talking about the Ohio River Valley in mid July. Unbelievable. I have a Canadian cold front to thank for this and I am happy to do so. ENJOY!

1 comment :

  1. Superb photo, love the feather colours to distinguish him so well. What a wonderful place to visit. Greetings from Jean