This tale was originally published by Loret T. Setters on January 6, 2012 at the defunct national blog beautifulwildlifegarden[dot]com. Click the date to view reader comments.
We had our first freeze of the season this week although it only lasted an hour or two. I love winter in Florida as the types of visitors to the garden vary at this time of year. I glanced out back the other day and was surprise to see a couple of Great Egrets (Ardea alba) wading in the pond. I was mostly surprised because Tanner the English setter was out in the yard and hadn’t seemed to notice the white beauties out back. Some bird dog…HA!
I quietly called Tanner into the house and as he entered, I, camera in hand, headed out. While I was taking a few shots, suddenly another head popped up out of nowhere. THREE herons at once…quite a treat for me.
According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, The Great Egret is “the largest egret in the Old World, and thus has garnered the name Great White Egret. In the New World, however, the white form of the Great Blue Heron is larger.” This particular trio wasn’t the largest herons I’ve encountered in my pond but it is the first time I can recall more than one of this species at one time.
I was trying to be stealth-like myself and not scare them off as I moved to get closer with hopes of a better shot. Alas, I was unsuccessful. Those birds may look like they aren’t paying attention, but they certainly are completely aware of what goes on around them at all times. I barely moved 20 feet ahead before they flapped their massive wings and took to the sky.