Snow in the Wetlands
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
A sweet, lone Snowy egret (Egretta thula) stands vigil in our wetlands as dusk approaches.
Snowy egrets are the American counterparts to the very similar Old World Little egrets, which are now beginning to appear in parts of the Caribbean. Along will curved plumes down their backs, their yellow lore (the area between the bill and the eyes) turns red during the breeding season. I spied this guy in the Spring — and his lore and plumage attest to the breeding time. Snowy egrets were once hunted mercilessly for these beautiful plumes, which were in high demand as decorations for women’s hats (as were the plumage of Great egrets and other birds). Their populations were drastically reduced to dangerously low levels, but they’re now protected by law in the US under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
They stalk their prey — including fish, crustaceans, insects and small reptiles — in shallow water, often shuffling their feet to flush it out into view. Snowy egrets will also stand stock still and wait, just like this guy, to ambush their next meal.