Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Great Egret Studies and Bonus River Otter!

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Egrets are incredibly elegant birds.  Tall, and slender, with sinuous necks, and flashing, bright white plumage. They stalk along the pond edge, looking, listening, pausing, and then suddenly spearing their prey.

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They are far less shy than the Great Blue Herons that come to the pond and so I have far more sketches of them. I might get five minutes of time observing the heron before he will fly away, while  I could easily have fifteen or twenty minutes at a stretch to watch the egret, who will then only fly a short ways down the pond edge. 

As an aside I will say that I was thrilled to see a river otter last week also. They are purported to be very shy but I have never found them to be so. Even though I startled this one as I was walking in the woods he stayed in the area and since I was now standing very still near the pond edge he came swimming back quite close, looked at me and seemed perfectly content to have me watching as he swam and dove.  Every time I see them in the pond I marvel at how much bigger they are than the ones at the zoo. I've talked to the staff there that feeds the otters and they tell me that their otters are a normal weight and length. They certainly look healthy and happy as they swim and splash in their pool and come swishing down their water slide. But really the otters that come to our pond are almost twice s big as the ones at the zoo!  I think that perhaps they are more muscular being wild and having great lengths of rivers, streams and ponds to navigate which also provide plenty of food for them.

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Anyway back to the egrets. I see them, (one, but often a pair) almost everyday. Certainly in the morning, but then again in the early evening.  I also noticed that they fly off into the woods surrounding the pond which makes me wonder if the nest there, or perhaps just roost during the heat of midday.

They are enormous fun to sketch and I suspect that by the end of my days I'll have sketchbooks upon sketchbooks that are peppered with many, many drawings of them. 

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