Sunday, May 7, 2017

Little Egret

We arrived at Heislerville WMA, after a few unplanned U-turns, and were happy to hear that the Little Egret had been seen that morning.

We were unhappy to learn that it had flown away, from the guys who had seen it fly just minutes before. Arrrgggghhh!

Little Egret is an old world native. This was the first ever to be seen in New Jersey (and it is reported to be the first seen this year on mainland North or South America). Now we had seen them in Africa, so it wasn't a total disaster that we had arrived apparently five minutes late (our friend Alex, who arrived slightly after we did, had set out at 4:00 am to get there! We left the house around six). But still, it would be nice to have such a bird on our New Jersey list.

Spoiler Alert: We do.

We were scoping the other birds in the impoundments, looking for a reported Red-necked Phalarope ("it was just here ..."), another good bird, but no Little Egret, when we got word the egret had been spotted just around the bend. Off we went.

Alex was already there, and pointed out the bird to us.

It is the back-most bird in the image below. And this is the view we had, when it wasn't hidden down in the reeds. Very annoying those reeds!

As more people arrived, it, along with the Snowy and Great Egrets which were foraging together, kept moving further down and away. Patty and I, and Alex, had had our views, and headed off.

Another U-turn, this one planned, was needed, and as the dirt road between the impoundments was not wide enough to do so safely, I drove down past the birds. And when we drove back past they had come much closer to the road. I parked behind some cedars, hidden from the birds, and quietly got out of the car and retrieved my camera. And was rewarded with the shot below as they decided to once again move off.

If it wasn't for that damn reed right in front of the Little Egret this would be a great shot. You can see the egret's plumes trailing behind its head; its blue lores; and golden feet.

Here is the bird without the offending reed in the way (now blocking a Great Egret). Alas, nowhere near as nice a composition.

I hope the bird enjoys its stay in New Jersey. It was originally found on April 27th and had disappeared until May 4th. We suspect that it will be here for the summer, although as there is plenty of good habitat, so it may not always be easy to find.

And yes, we did see that Phalarope too.

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