Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Great Egrets

Written and photographed by Gay Schroer. Click on images to enlarge.

In mid-April of 2007 we were vacationing in the Charleston, SC area and decided to take the Magnolia Plantation Tour. The boat tour through their swamp was very interesting, but not nearly as fascinating at the self guided walk through the Audubon Swamp Garden which is adjacent to the plantation. We were lucky enough to be there during the height of the nesting and breeding season in the Egret and Heron rookery. There is a small fee to enter (about $7.00), but once you enter you can take as much time as you want. The trail is over a series of
boardwalks and bridges which take you into areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. The brochures tell you that it takes about an hour, but if you're anythiing like me, expect to spend way more time than that unless you want to whiz through. Here are photos of the Great Egrets breeding and nesting.

This was only one of the nest trees in the rookery. If you want to get recognizable photos you need at LEAST a 300 mm lens.

The following photos are all of this same pair who were actively
breeding and reminded me of a typical married couple setting up
housekeeping. Note the beautiful breeding plumage.

Photo of our pair breeding

After breeding he flies up to a branch and begins to preen his gorgeous plumage, while she gets down to the serious business of rearranging the nesting material.

Note the eggs already in the nest.

More rearranging and redecorating!

After a short squabble he takes off.

...and lands nearby. She has obviously sent him for more nesting materials.

He spends a great deal of time choosing just the right stick.

While she continues to rearrange the furniture.

...and preen. After all, the man of the house will be back soon and a girl has to look her best.

"Honey, I'm home!"

"Well, it's about time!"

"Look what I brought you!"

"I could use a little help here!"

"You're doing a fine job!"

"I think I need some help with this one!"

"A little more to the left, please!"


Anonymous said...

wow what amazing pictures. I have never seen an egret in person, but after seeing these photos I really want to now!!

Thanks for sharing.

World Bird Sanctuary said...

They are gorgeous aren't they? I've never seen them nesting outside of the zoo.

DanielC15 said...

Great Egrets nest all throughout Missouri. You just have to uncover their rookeries (group nesting spots). They are gorgeous, though!