Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Snowy Egret, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, VA

It is an under statement to say I was in sheer heaven photographing all of the different birds at Chincoteague earlier this summer. It truly was a paradise that if given the chance I would love to visit again during a migration period. Considering how many birds there were during the slow summer months could only mean it has to be way out there in the numbers during migration. One bird I hadn't had the pleasure of making my acquaintance prior to this trip was the Snowy Egret.

As I researched Egrets to identify this particular bird, I discovered the Snowy Egret is one of the most familiar of the smaller Herons and recently staged a comeback after legislation was passed in the early 1900's and hunting these beautiful birds was outlawed. Their distinguishing features are their long black bills, long black legs and more noticeably their bright yellow feet. I found this Egret amusing to watch as he seemed to crouch his head and neck down towards his body and waded about in the water as though planning a sneak attack on his next catch of the day.

These wading birds are more active than the Great White Egret. Perhaps its their smaller size that allows them to move about in open waters easier than their larger cousins. During mating season, the male Snowy Egret adorns long delicate plumes on their heads, neck and back. I witnessed these plumes over in the bay between the mainland and Chincoteague Island where the Egrets gathered in larger numbers later in the day. I'll post an image I captured of them and the Ibises in another post. As I learned about the history of the Snowy Egret, I discovered why I hadn't noticed these birds sooner. They are mostly coastal inhabitants and I don't get to the coast all that often. These Egrets will migrate south into Central Mexico and the Caribbean in September. But don't worry, they migrate back north into coastal North America in March and April so that we can enjoy them during the warmer months. We've had a gorgeous week for the most part here in the Ohio River Valley which is totally unlike August for us. Normally, August is hot, humid and midway through it, we tend to call it the Dog Days of Summer. But that phrase doesn't really apply this week. ENJOY!

1 comment :

  1. Super images Carol. They are very similar to our Little Egret. I love watching their yellow feet as they gently stir up the water when feeding.