About two weeks ago I saw my first great egret on Lake Irene while walking in the Community Park near my house. Although their shape is similar, there is no mistaking this magnificent white bird for the great blue herons that frequently visit the lake.
I have been walking in the park for years and it is the first time I had seen one wading along its shores. I returned to the park twice this week and the great egret was still there.
On Monday the skies were clear when I arrived late in the afternoon after work.
Walking along the lake I enjoyed watching the dragonflies darting about over the waters, landing, briefly, on a twig or leaf.
The dragonflies have roamed this earth long before the dinosaurs and I often imagine how the planet looked when the flew over the primeval swamps.
On the eastern side of the lake I found my feathered friend wading in the pickerel-weed growing along the shore.
The great egret seemed to welcome me follow it as it walked and waded along the shores of Lake Irene. It wasn’t, unfortunately because it liked me, but because I scared the dragonflies and grasshoppers out of the brush and into it’s sharp bill.
I followed it around the lake for about an hour, watching it grab dragonflies and grasshoppers off of leaves along the shore.
It allowed me to follow it as it foraged for food. However, if another person approached it would fly off a few feet and continue feeding, allowing me to join it again.
I watched this beautiful bird for about an hour on Monday afternoon.
As I was leaving a flock of Canada geese decided to join me and left the lake too. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk with the egret. Community Park August 13 2019.
On Tuesday I returned to the lake with my macro and zoom lenses. I was hoping the great egret was still there. It was mostly cloudy when I arrived and I didn’t see the egret.
Walking along the shore I did see some bees gathering nectar on a flower.
And a couple of beetles doing what beetles do this time of year.
There were a few marsh St’ John wort flowers growing nearby,
as well as white turtlehead flowers.
As I walked toward the north end of the lake I saw the great egret and I think it saw me. It flew across the lake and landed right next to me!
My thoughts were it remembered me from my previous visits and how I helped it find food. . It remained nearby until a group of people scared it and it flew across the lake.
I followed it to the other side of the lake and followed it as it foraged along the shore of the lake.
This time it spent more time wading in the water. I learned that it is harder to catch a fish or a frog. I watched the egret make a few attempts to catch something in the water and miss.
It was a lot easier to catch a dragonfly or a grasshopper closer to shore.
For the next hour I walked alongside this graceful bird as it waded in the waters near the shore of the lake. It knew I was nearby and didn’t seem to mind at all. It welcomed my help in scattering the dragonflies and grasshoppers and taking advantage by grabbing a quick snack.
The great egret is an endangered species in Pennsylvania. I felt very fortunate to have been able to interact with this beautiful creature that visited our area. I hope it stays for a while. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk. Community Park August 14 2019.
Stalking along from log to log, or plunging their long legs in the oozy swamp, two large herons paid no attention to my presence, but occupied themselves with their own fishing arrangements, as if their wilderness were their own. William Cowper Prime