15 Minutes Can Make a Difference

Early on Saturday morning of Labor Day Weekend I read a post on IN-Bird by Joni Jones about seeing Great Egrets leaving their roost at 7AM. I had planned to go to the local wet area around sunrise at 7:17AM, but changed my plans after reading her post and instead arrived at 6:45AM. And I’m glad I did because those 15 minutes made a difference.

COMBS (1)
As seen on the first photo of the day, the local wet area is packed with geese, ducks, and herons.  6:59AM

Here are counts at 7AM:

  1. Canada Geese – 500
  2. Mallard – 250
  3. Green-winged Teal – 1
  4. Great Blue Heron – 22
  5. Great Egret – 16
CANG FLIGHT (1)
Immediately after the count the Canada Geese started flying east to feed elsewhere for the day.  7:07AM
CANG FLIGHT (7)
In group after group of approximately 25 birds they kept coming off the water.  7:07AM
COMBS (7)
Within 10 minutes the numbers had dropped drastically.  7:09 AM
combs-9 15 minutes
It only took another 4 minutes for the numbers to drop another 50% leaving maybe 10% of the birds which had been present 15 minutes earlier.  7:13AM
COMBS (10)
I stopped by later in the day and there wasn’t a bird present. – 3:06PM

The moral of the story is to get there even earlier then planned because if I would arrived at sunrise I would have seen 90% less birds.

 

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On Labor Day morning I stopped by to check for shorebirds. There were a couple of shorebirds but more unusual was the presence of the resident Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons

And they were sitting!

greg-gbhe-33
When I first pulled up to the wet area there were egrets and herons present, but something didn’t look quite right??
greg-gbhe-23
What made it look unusual was that the Great Egrets were sitting on the ground and on their “ankles”.
greg-gbhe-14
I honestly don’t recall ever seeing egrets and herons sitting on their “ankles”.
greg-gbhe-7
Maybe it was a good way to keep cool and take a nap in the mid-day heat?

In case you’re wondering the heron’s “knee” is hidden up under their feathers. The part they are sitting on in the photos is more like our “ankle”.

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