Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Great Egret on its nest...

A Great Egret stands atop what appears to be a scattered lump of twigs. Of course, it's nothing of the kind. It's a platform nest, and although it may look flimsy and non-enduring, the weight of the twigs added over time locks everything together and makes the nest secure:
"The simplicity of the architectural blueprint for the piled-up platform nest is deceptive, as it creates some of the most monumental and enduring structures in the avian world. Birds of prey including eagles, kites, and ospreys build platforms, as do herons, egrets, storks, and spoonbills." (Source: "Avian Architecture; How Birds Design, Engineer, and Build," by Peter Goodfellow, pg 36.)

A Great Egret on its nest at the Ibis Pond rookery on Pinckney Island (from June of this year). the nest the once over? Our egret appears to be studying something!

I saw more Great Egret nests on Pinckney Island this summer than past years. The Great Egret nests were much further away from the the moat and harder to see than the Tricolored Herons, Little Blue Herons, and Snowy Egrets, but this one, although pretty far away, was easily seen.

...a Great Egret takes flight through the reeds at the water's edge.

by Mary Oliver

Where the path closed
down and over,
through the scumbled leaves,
fallen branches,
through the knotted catbrier,
I kept going. Finally
I could not
save my arms
from thorns; soon
the mosquitoes
smelled me, hot
and wounded, and came
wheeling and whining.
And that's how I came
to the edge of the pond:
black and empty
except for a spindle
of bleached reeds
at the far shore
which, as I looked,
wrinkled suddenly
into three egrets - - -
a shower
of white fire!
Even half-asleep they had
such faith in the world
that had made them - - -
tilting through the water,
unruffled, sure,
by the laws
of their faith not logic,
they opened their wings
softly and stepped
over every dark thing.

I've always loved this poem by Mary Oliver. It's in one of my favorite bird anthology books, "The Little Big Book of Birds," edited by Lena Tabori and Natasha Tabori Fried, pg. 258. I tried twice to format this poem as it appears in my book, but both times, Blogger stripped out the formatting when I posted. I tried...


KAT said...

love that last photo the gree water is like a gem

- KAT -

grammie g said...

Hi Kelley...Oh I love that poem ...
Love your Egret shots to especially the one with the reeds in front!!
Merry Christmas

Janice K said...

Such a beautiful blog!!

Merry Christmas, Kelly.

holdingmoments said...

Beautiful bird Kelly, and excellent shots.

Gillian Olson said...

A beautiful bird and absolutely great pictures, thanks for the poem too.
Merry Christmas.

Garden Lily said...

Beautiful photos, and that is a neat poem, too.

Midmarsh John said...

A great series of shots Kelly.
Have a great Christmas time.

Marco Alpha said...

Hello Kelly,
Wonderful all these shots!! This great egret is beautiful. Nice that you've caught him in a flying pose. Very well done!!
I wish you a wonderful christmas!!

Greetings, Marco

Bob Bushell said...

I love your Great Egret, well photographed.

Dan Huber said...

Wonderful post and photos Kelly. You really captured the grace of the egrets so well. Lovely poem too.
Merry Christmas.


TexWisGirl said...

such gorgeous images! the first couple in the nest are so crystal clear with perfect subdued lighting for their ultra-bright plumage. loved the poem, too. thank you for sharing these!

Roy said...

LOvely images of a bird I have never seen Kelly.
Great penultimate flying shot .

Mary said...

Love the poem and the photos are just gorgeous!

DeanO said...

So graceful in flight

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Stunning as always. Love the poem, too! Merry Christmas, Kelly!

Elva Paulson said...

Wonderful egret shots Kelly. Oh my gosh! to get those flying ones

Their nest looks only a tad better than the green heron nest I once stood under. From underneath I could see peeks of sky and the silhouette of the eggs.

Andy Wilson (AndysLens) said...

Merry Christmas

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone. What a gorgeous bird...and the nest was gorgeous too. I watched this bird come and go lots of times. The babies were already out of the nest and branching...

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

There's an egret rookery near us. I love listening to the strange chatter of the birds.

Edd Fuller said...

Love the photos of the egrets and that poem is terrific--thanks so much.