Category Archives: Wading Birds

Great Egret

With Storm Florence now well to the north I was able to return to one of my favorite birding spots this afternoon. The sun was in and out with puffy white clouds filling the sky.

Great Egret Hunting
Great Egret Hunting

This Great Egret had found a shallow spot to hunt, although this wasn’t looking like a great fishing hole as he kept coming up with nothing.

Great Egret Hunting
Great Egret Hunting

He did create some nice reflections for me, albeit in dirty looking water that was still churned up from Flo’s rain and wind.

Great Egret Hunting
Great Egret Hunting

My heart goes out to those in North Carolina who will be weeks, months, and probably more putting their lives back together after storm Florence’s record rain fall.

Bye-bye Birds

This is an image from early July which at the time didn’t seem so interesting, being mostly bird butts. Now that we’ve spent several weeks seeing almost no birds this appeals to me more.

Wading Birds in Flight
Wading Birds in Flight

This is just a small part of what I estimated to be at least a thousand birds in the shallow water at the marsh edge. I could not get closer due to a huge alligator blocking the trail.

The Director’s Pose: Bird Style

The large egrets and herons make dramatic water landings that include looking a bit as if they are conducting a musical group.

Great Egret Wings Spread for Landing
Great Egret Wings Spread for Landing

The Great Blue Herons especially seem to easily maintain their balance and smoothly tuck their wings into position.

Great Blue Heron Wings Spread for Landing
Great Blue Heron Wings Spread for Landing

The Tri-colored Heron completes his landing with a little less elegance, his wing tip feathers working just a little harder for some reason.

Tri-colored Heron Wings Spread for Landing
Tri-colored Heron Wings Spread for Landing

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, just after sunrise, July 15, 2018.

Great Egret Take Off

I remain fascinated by how elegantly the large wading birds fly. This Great Egret was surveying the marsh from the top of a tree.

Great Egret Posing in Tree
Great Egret Posing in Tree

He picked his direction and with one step and a flap of his wings he was off.

Great Egret Ready for Takeoff
Great Egret Ready for Takeoff

Unlike some of the other large birds, the Great Egrets’ wings are nearly silently when they take off so unless you are watching you don’t even know they are gone.

Great Egret In Flight
Great Egret In Flight

7/3/2018 Donnelley Wildlife Management Area

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron

This young Yellow-crowned Night Heron was concentrating, although it was hard to say on what. His perch of a dead limb was hanging over a pond where he could go fishing, but he didn’t seem to be watching the water.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron

I watched awhile to see if he would come out into the brighter light. He was content to stay where the overhang of a larger tree provided some shade, occasionally changing direction and practicing the heron “standing still” skill.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Solitary Snowy Egret

Snowy Egrets are entertaining to watch as they dart about, working to stir up small fish in the water. This one separated himself from the flock of nearby Roseate Spoonbills and Wood Storks and took a short break. We are used to seeing  Great Egrets waiting this way, but generally the Snowy Egrets don’t have the same perseverance.

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret

A quick turn and a pounce into the water yielded nothing, this time.

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret

Taken 7/26/2018.