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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.

A Snowy egret in breeding plumage patiently waits for a meal in the wetlands

38 Comments Post a comment
  1. This post earned a Bean’s Pat as the Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day. Check it out at http://patbean.wordpress.com

    September 26, 2012
    • Thanks very much for the pat! 🙂

      September 27, 2012
  2. The heading caught my attention. The picture caught my eye,

    September 26, 2012
  3. Cheeky title :)… Got me all curious to click on the link.

    September 26, 2012
    • Hee hee!! Yep… If there was snow here, it would make international news. 🙂

      September 27, 2012
  4. Outstanding photo of the always cool snowy in an absolutely beautiful setting!
    Very well done!
    It’s nice to catch the lone snowy since as best as I can tell snowys spend approx. 60% of their lives fussing and sqaubbling with one another. 🙂

    September 26, 2012
    • Thanks so much!! I loved the setting, too… The background roots seemed to match his (her) lore, heh!!

      You’re right, in our area at least, the snowies tend to congregate together (like the cattle egrets) — so I was thrilled to catch this guy hunting alone, probably for his babies. 🙂

      September 27, 2012
  5. Oh I do remember these beauties and you have captured the essence of grace and patience with your photograph of the Snowy Egret. I love the title of your post too. 🙂

    September 26, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I adore these little guys… So very sweet and lovely (especially in their full breeding regalia!). I loved this guy, solitary in the wetlands. It was a quiet day, and I was alone — it was wonderful.

      September 27, 2012
  6. I can’t even imagine the amount of information you have in your pretty little head about these. Stunning photo here and am so jealous of you being able to see them so often.

    September 26, 2012
    • Hahahha!! You’re so sweet. Believe me: NOT MUCH! Just a bit, and only because I’m surrounded by them — and I make a habit of hiking regularly. 🙂 Aren’t they lovely though? You need to come visit during breeding / nesting season, to see these guys in their full regalia. It’s just magnificent.

      September 27, 2012
      • When is that anyway? I should plan my next trip down there. May try to get down in March and again in May

        September 27, 2012
      • May would be PERFECT! But in March, they’d be in full breeding plumage… May the babies would be out though! Choices, choices! March would be better weather, though — that’s fer sure.

        September 28, 2012
  7. again, new information and nice photo with (an attitude) >>> stands still for an ambush 🙂 🙂

    September 26, 2012
    • Thank you!!!

      That’s EXACTLY what he’s doing… Judging by when I captured it, I have a feeling he’s hunting for his (or her) babies. 🙂

      September 27, 2012
      • this is sentimental …. as if we are talking about a neighbor or some(one) 🙂 🙂

        September 27, 2012
      • so very true… they have the same needs, to a high degree!!

        September 28, 2012
  8. OH, YOU TRICKY DICKY!! GOOD TITLE AND HERE I THOUGHT YOU REALLY HAD SNOW ALREADY AND WE UP HERE IN THE NORTH ARE YET TO RECEIVE ANY AS IT IS YET TOO EARLY AND INDIAN SUMMER IS YET TO COME!!!! SUCH A HANDSOME OR BEAUTIFUL CREATURE HE BE. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PRESENTING HIM TO THE WORLD AT LARGE!!!!

    September 26, 2012
    • Hee hee!!! Oh, if we got snow in our wetlands… It would make international news!

      Thanks so very much — I adore these little beauties. And to see them in their full breeding plumage regalia? Just magnificent. 😉

      September 27, 2012
  9. My goodness! I thought our climate had changed more than we’ve been told!

    These beauties suddenly are everywhere around here. I think I saw a half-dozen on my way to work today, just standing around in the wetlands that line part of the highway. They are so beautiful. They do tend to seem solitary, though – not like the flock of cattle egrets I saw on Sunday. One large cow had three of them lined up along her back – so funny!

    September 26, 2012
    • Heeee!

      Our snowies can be solitary at times, but when they’re in the wetlands it’s usually breeding time, so it’s a group activity in the rookeries — so I was happy to spy this guy alone (probably hunting for the young’uns). But the cattle egrets, omigosh aren’t they funny! Always a cacophony. 🙂

      September 27, 2012
  10. How beautiful!

    September 27, 2012
    • They’re really quite lovely… Especially when showing off their breeding plumage! I was just thrilled to catch one alone in the wetlands. 🙂

      September 27, 2012
  11. Just gorgeous!

    September 27, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I love these guys… And this was a rare opportunity, with a lone one.

      September 27, 2012
  12. You must have thought about this FeyGirl. It is time you turn your incredible photos into posters and notecards that include your comments. You owe it to the world.

    September 27, 2012
    • You’re so incredibly kind. ♥ I *am* trying (in my spare time, hahahhaah!) to get these on a purchasing site, with quotes in cards, etc. My hold-up? Understanding the @(#@ logistics of the website! I swear…

      Thanks so much for the vote of confidence. It means VERY much.

      September 28, 2012
  13. Deb Platt #

    I loved the title, and I thought the photo was gorgeous.

    September 28, 2012
    • Thanks so much! The title was a last-minute inspiration. 🙂

      September 28, 2012
  14. I was thinking ‘where is there snow in FL’ then I opened up your post to an exquisite pic of the heron…got it!!!

    September 29, 2012
    • Heh heh!! THAT’S where there’s snow. 🙂 If it were otherwise, we’d be making international news…

      October 1, 2012
  15. What a beautiful bird! Gorgeous capture. 🙂
    (I wondered about snow in Florida, too. lol!)

    September 29, 2012
    • ESPECIALLY in South Florida, heh heh! 🙂

      Thanks so much — they’re such sweet little waders, and I was thrilled to nab him alone during the early dusk hour.

      October 1, 2012
  16. The bird is gorgeous, your picture is stunning and it’s always so great that you add such interesting information as well. Glad to hear they are now protected – that’s brilliant.

    September 30, 2012
    • You’re so kind — thanks very much!! These are lovely little waders, and I was thrilled to nab him alone, and at such a time (the approaching evening). It IS wonderful they’re actively protected, too — now, just to protect their habitats!!

      October 1, 2012
  17. You scared me with the “s’ word although they say we might get a bit next weekend.. NOOOOO.. Love the egret…Michelle

    September 30, 2012
    • Hahah! If we had snow down here… It would make international news! And we’d be THRILLED! 🙂

      Thanks so much.

      October 1, 2012

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