Thursday, May 3, 2012

Snowy Egret

The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) with its lovely white plumage and expressive eyes
The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) is a showy bird that was once almost hunted to extinction so that fashionable ladies on the East Coast could have a feather in their hat.  Fortunately, enlightened conservationists in the early 1900's stopped the slaughter around the same time that National Parks were coming into existence.  It can identified by its yellow feet and yellow patch around its eyes.  At  24 inches is small by heron standards being dwarfed by the Great Blue Heron, which also calls the state home. 

Lunging forward for the kill
The Snowy Egret feeds on fish, frogs, and crustaceans in shallow ponds and swampy areas.  They actually stalk their prey and as one of the pictures in this post will attest, their long bill looks like a jet fighter about to swoop in for the kill.  Woe to the frog negligently croaking within sight of the Snowy Egret.

I caught site of this specimen along Dry Creek in Westminster while out for a bike ride.  Since it was the first one I had seen in the state, I almost crashed into a large Cottonwood in my haste to dismount and lunge, dare I say it, Snowy Egret-like after the shot.  I stood around for quite a bit while it gracefully strolled around in the mud, only to reach forward in staccato bursts after some tasty morsel. 

Gee, no dinosaur like qualities here!  Beware the bill!


Linda W. said...

Great photos!

Janet K said...

Great photos!! I saw one of these today in Wheat Ridge.