Sunday, June 22, 2014

Great Egrets at High Island

While the most strikingly colored species in the Smith Oaks rookery is the Roseate Spoonbill, the latter are not the most numerous species there. This honor belongs to the Great Egrets. On every visit I have ever paid to the site, Great Egrets outnumbered all other species combined.

The observation decks give great views of the Egrets as they fly to and from their nesting sites.

While normally the most graceful of birds, Great Egrets can look a little ungainly when taking off or landing.

I've noticed that when they return to the nest, they tend to call out to let their partners know they are coming. I suppose this is the Egret equivalent of "Honey, I'm home".

Most of the Egrets hang out in nuclear family groups of two adults plus chicks. However, some appear to cluster in larger groups. 

The chicks in this group were the youngest that we saw on this visit.

Whether recently-hatched or a little older, all the chicks spend their time waiting for their parents to come back and then noisily begging for food.

If the parents do not produce food quickly enough, the chicks will get their attention by grabbing their bills.

Of course, Great Egrets are not the only Egrets at High Island. There are plenty of Snowy Egrets also. But I'll leave blogging about these until my next post.

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