I was on my way to Glen Haven to take pictures of the shoreline when I passed a beautiful marsh backdropped by spectacular dunes.
I caught a patch of white as I sped by and wondered if it was an egret. I continued on to the beach, took a few shots, and returned. Yes, some kind of egret.
I’d seen a Snowy Egret before but had never seen a Great Egret, which has an orange bill, yellow eyes, and black legs and feet.
It stood very still for a while and I wasn’t sure if it had an eye on prey or was trying to be invisible from me.
Finally the Great Egret shifted and stood on one leg, something long-legged birds do to minimize heat loss.
I watched as the graceful bird began to preen its long white feathers, happy to also catch its reflection in the marsh waters.
The Great Egret is aided in preening its 25,000 feathers by its long neck. It goes through this process at least three times a day to rid its feathers of dust and parasites and align its feathers perfectly for its next flight.
Having been in the car for over four hours and taken nearly 500 shots, I got off one more of this majestic bird and then pulled away from the marsh.
Thinking the excitement for the day was done, I pulled into the Dune Climb parking lot to turn around and head home. With my window down I heard the nearby bugling of two Sandhill Cranes overhead.
They circled out over Little Glen a short distance and then circled back over my car calling the whole time. I sensed I was in the way.
One crane landed behind me and the other continued on, it’s haunting rattle call filling the quiet morning air.
As the crane emerged from the other side of the tree, I thought, it doesn’t get much better than this.