Acting ‘Reddish’: Dancing Snowy Egret.
We all know how herons and egrets hunt. They wade into shallow water very slowly, then stand stock still waiting for fish to swim under them. We’ve all seen a great blue heron imitating a statue. Egrets act the same way. Except, there is, or was, only one exception: the reddish egret.
A Gulf Coast native, one of birding’s more unusual performers, it prances through shallow water leaping and spinning like amateur night at the Modern Dance Theater. Then, when it has caused consternation among all the fish in the vicinity, it kindly raises its wings to provide shade for the fish to hide under. Of course, those fish scared enough to swim to the ‘safety’ of the shade get eaten first.
The pictures above date from a Florida trip two years ago, the last time I saw the quirky and uncommon bird. What other wading bird acts like that?
It turns out, on our visit to the Bay Area this month, we saw a similar frenetic prancing through water performed by a more familiar bird, the snowy egret. Snowy’s are medium sized wading birds with black bills and yellow feet. (The larger great egrets have yellow bills and black legs and feet- but you knew that). The bird repeatedly caught fish while I watched. The dance technique works!
I did get a few photos with fish in its beak, but the photographs were dull, so I’ll spare you. Thanks for reading.