snowy egrets

8.5.22 ~ Beach Pond

Another early morning visit to the pond. We are now in a severe drought. Most of the birds were on the far side of the pond again and most of them were snowy egrets! I’ve never seen so many here. But the one in the pictures below was on my side of the pond. Intent on her fishing, she seemed unconcerned by my presence, even though she was keeping an eye on me.

The great blue heron was still at the pond and remained stationary with his head down. Linda suggested he might be molting.

At first I wasn’t sure these birds were snowy egrets because when they came out of the water most of their feet seemed black. I wondered if the legs might be covered with mud. Then I noticed the snowy egret on the log above with one yellow foot and one black foot, confirming my theory.

It was fun watching the snowy egrets observe a mallard family swimming through their claimed fishing grounds. There were a few disputes. There isn’t much water left in the pond so I imagine what fish are left are concentrated into a much smaller area than usual.

Last summer we had plenty of rain and very few swamp rose mallows. The opposite is true this year. So beautiful! They grow along with the cattails.

The receding water has exposed some interesting things. I’m guessing this thing (below) might be parts of a horseshoe crab shell?

We’re doing our best to enjoy the great indoors while high temperature records are getting broken, ragweed pollen fills the air, air quality alerts are issued and there is no relief from the hazy humidity. Covid numbers keep rising. Thank goodness for the sea breezes at the pond and the beach where we can get a few relatively comfortable minutes outside every day.

22 thoughts on “snowy egrets”

  1. Interesting pictures. The flowers added a touch of color to the scene. There are some wonderful water birds in this world. A nice outing for you.

    1. It is remarkable how much color the swamp rose mallows add to the dreary drought landscape. Lately this pond is about the only place we go when we leave the house.

  2. Love those Snowy captures! Such an elegant bird. Looks like these are immature Snowys, their legs and feet start very dull in color, the yellow even dark, I see their beaks are lighter and not the adult black. Come Spring, they’ll have those gorgeous vibrant yellow feet and black beak! Love those mallows too, I see mostly white ones in the marshes; I love when I see just a single pink grouping among them. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Donna! That’s what the folks in the bird identification group on Facebook said about the picture I posted there, a juvenile snowy. How interesting about the foot coloring. (I thought maybe their feet were covered in mud.) I asked the experts because in a different FB group for the beach (not the bird id group) people keep posting pictures of the snowy egrets and calling them baby great egrets. I’m going to add one of my pictures and give it the correct identity and see what kind of a reaction I get!

  3. You posted these snowy egrets just for me, didn’t you?? Thank you, Barbara — I enjoyed seeing them very much! I also love the mallows. We don’t have them here — at least, not to my knowledge — and they’re gorgeous. Everybody is suffering in this heat. We finally are seeing a “cool front,” which is supposed to cool things down a bit (especially that humidity!). We’ll be sending it to you later in the week — enjoy!

    1. Of course I posted these just for you, Debbie! I was enchanted with your poetic comparison of their whiteness, like “they’ve been bleached and hung out on a clothesline to dry.” 🙂 The swamp rose mallows look tropical to me but their native range goes all the way up north to Ontario. Thanks for sending the cool front! The heat has let up some here, the humidity is supposed to dissipate by this evening…

  4. Beautiful photos, Barbara. I hope you get some much-needed rain soon. The flowers, everywhere it seems, are really enjoying the heat this summer. We have a lot of marsh mallows blooming now, too.

    1. Thank you, Robin! Still hoping for some rain — the latest chance of it is passing by to the south this morning. 🙁 My petunias and verbenas do seem to love the heat, they are blooming like crazy on the balcony.

    1. Our weather people are predicting a fabulous weekend — keeping my fingers crossed! It’s remarkable how clean and snowy white the egrets stay, especially when they’re wading around in all that mud.

  5. Beautiful pictures Barbara – those pink blooms mingled in with the snowy egret, make each of them even more stunning to look at. That snowy egret really was giving the heron, you and the ducks “the business” with a stony stare. The heron looks a little forlorn standing there and it looks like it will have a face-off with the heron. 🙂 At the eye doctor’s office today, my doctor told me he has a pond in his backyard with lots of frogs in it and a heron was enjoying his breakfast when two sandhill cranes came along and bullied him, not touching him, but just making loud noises and crowding him out so they could fill up on frogs. I couldn’t watch frog-eating part, I have to admit that.

    1. It’s been quite a visual treat for us, getting out on these early mornings, Linda. It’s been too hot and humid to see or do anything else. That great blue heron seems to be there every morning and rarely moves. Maybe he is/was molting. I haven’t seen any oystercatchers this year, although I thought I heard them a couple of times. It’s funny how each year seems to bring a different assortment of birds. I’ve only seen a sandhill crane once, at a wildlife refuge in Georgia. That must be something to have a couple of them in your eye doctor’s back yard! It is hard to watch the eating part. The other day I saw a documentary on Patagonia where orcas were making a meal out of sea lions. I turned my head away…

      1. Yes, molting makes birds lethargic, plus it is Summertime. It takes a lot out of them going through the molting process.

        A fellow blogger said she had a backyard pond and had to put a fine screening material over the pond because there were a lot of frogs and the herons were helping themselves to the frogs. I couldn’t look at that sight of orcas eating sea lions either. I was walking once and heard a noise once above me and a Peregrine Falcon was chasing a medium-sized bird in mid-air. The terrified bird was screeching and I had looked up at that. It was a horrible screeching and suddenly it stopped. I felt sick to my stomach though I had seen nothing.

        1. When I was a little girl my father tried to get me used to the ways of nature, especially when watching documentaries on TV. “Eat or be eaten,” was his scientific observation. He’d point out that we eat animals, too. Sometime I reflect on this quote from Wendell Berry: “To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration.” Still, it’s hard to watch.

          1. That quote is very wise Barbara – thank you for sharing it. I hope to never see the hawk carry off one of the squirrels – sequestering them in “safe spots” makes me feel better, but now they are in “gathering and burying mode” so that is out of my control. I saw a squirrel today with a black walnut, still in the hull and he was racing around the tree with it – a prize to eat or keep. I got a shot of him looking right at me with the black walnut in his mouth (looking like a dog with a toy or ball in its mouth). Made me smile.

          2. This morning I was telling Yorkie that it is an eat or be eaten world.

            When I read your comment, Barbara, I just had to join your conversation with Linda. I don’t know where I got that philosophy. Watching too many National Geographic TV shows in my childhood, perhaps. Good reference from Wendell Berry. Oh, I so do not enjoy that part of nature and I too must look away most of the time. Life is about survival with precious fleeting moments of beauty.

          3. Linda, I can’t wait to see your picture of the squirrel with the black walnut in his mouth! You have a way of capturing them in their cutest moments. 🙂 It’s nice seeing them collecting and eating nuts but it helps to remember that they are also omnivores, even if they don’t eat meat in front of us. 😉

          4. TD, I suppose anyone who pays attention to the natural world will eventually come to the conclusion that it’s all about eating or being eaten. Welcome to the ‘Watching National Geographic Specials in Childhood’ club! That’s one of the first things Linda and I found out we had in common. 🙂 My mother used to tell me how indigenous peoples would hunt for a deer and after killing it would prayerfully thank it for providing food for their families. That’s what I think of when Berry speaks of doing it “knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently.”

  6. You sure can tell where the expression “beady eye” came from. That egret was giving you the beady eye! Yes, the drought is horrible in New England, and most definitely here in MA. Our hummingbirds are sucking up the hummingbird water we leave out for them like it’s gold. And they’re even getting along, letting one or more sip on the feeder at the same time (usually when there’s no drought they fight so only one wins and stays on the feeder). Every night we pray for rain. Nada so far. xo

    1. I keep thinking of you and your hummingbirds, Pam. We don’t have birdfeeders because of the neighbors but Tim heard that certain flowers attract hummingbirds so I did a little research. This summer we bought some red petunias and purple verbenas and now we have hummingbirds and butterflies visiting our balcony every day. It’s magical!!! I used to have my beloved geraniums out there every summer but they never attracted any winged creatures. I love hearing about your hummers taking turns at the feeder during a time of drought. ❤️

      1. Yay for you and your flower-lovin’ hummers. Yes, we have a hanging red begonia on our front porch and every early (early) morning when I’m out there reading, they come and taste the flower-center. It’s so cool hearing their wings before I even see them.

        1. That sounds so peaceful and thrilling at the same time, Pam, quietly reading on the porch early in the morning with hummingbird visitors. Ours seem to visit in the middle of the afternoon, after the morning sunlight moves away. Sometimes they come peek inside through the sliding glass doors.

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