Thursday, March 25, 2010

Egrets: I've Had a Few

Snowy Egret Egretta thula and Great Egret Ardea alba

Just riding along, taking about 200 photos of art, bikes, plants and stuff, and then...what the heck? Egrets? Lots of them? Three kinds? Perched on the edge of the canal fishing? And sitting beside the lake?

 Egrets of the Third Kind: Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias

So in addition to the 200 art photos, I got about 150 of egrets staring keen-eyed for swimming edibles.

Mallard, not technically in the egret club

I loved the way the small snowy egrets hang out as equals with the blue herons and the greats, like "That's right, we bad, uh huh..."
Snowies Not Afraid of Greats

"Art, bikes, plants, birds, and stuff" is not a really compelling name for a blog, I think. But, this was an unusual sight, at least the white birds, since I have seen a blue heron or two around regularly, and I don't actually know the right explanation: migration? stuck there by resort owners? escaped from the egret circus? they were there all along and I somehow missed the giant white birds in the previous 200 times I passed through this neighborhood? global warming? they saw the blue heron and wanted to join the club? Whatever the reason these birds were out there, I feel fortunate to have seen them. When I saw the one in the tree below, I flashed back to Louisiana, where they are a common sight. But not here. Not normally. But this ain't normal. This is ABPBS. Get up Go ride.

    Not Normal. Not here.


  1. Perhaps they are like Rick in Casablanca:
    They came for the water, but were misinformed.

  2. Great title!

    Because of your blog and Upside Out, I now have the urge to visit the Phoenix area and do some exploring.

  3. Thanks RTP! Recommended visiting time is October thru Mid-May. May thru September can be brutally hot. Personally I love the summers, but I am half Gila Monster, so your mileage may vary.

  4. Wow, I've never seen a gaggle of egrets like that. I have seen a couple at a time behind the horses on Indian Bend but I usually see them singularly. Likewise, herons. Have you been to the Gilbert Riparian Preserve? Lots of water birds there.

    1. No, never been out to the Gilbert Preserve, I will have to check it out sometime. I also wanted to mention that there are often lots of egrets and herons (fascinating how they tolerate each other!) below the Tempe Town Lake dam, gathered in the small pools in several places downstream.

    2. You know, I keep meaning to go there again. I haven't been in a few years, it seemed so stark back when I went, not to mention crowded but the promise of egrets and herons will pull me back soon, I think. Aren't herons and egrets actually pretty much the same family? They must be social critters.

    3. Apparently in places with more water and heron food, they gather into large rookeries during breeding/nesting season which can interfere with the established behaviors of another pervasive/invasive species, homo sapiens. In particular, some colonies of homo sapiens have opted to evict the herons out of dislike of the birds' guano and noise. This seems much less likely in a desert setting due to lack of suitable heron habitat.


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