Saturday, October 26, 2013

Great (October) Egret

On a cold, gray 23 October 2013, John Holden and I were surprised to find a Great Egret approaching us along the shore of Circle Lake in Rice County. The end of October is a bit late for this egret in Minnesota, although birds are known to linger into November.
I quickly realized that this egret presented a photographic opportunity—a white bird against a smooth gray background and no horizon line or distracting sandbar or vegetation.
During the half hour we observed, the egret slowly strolled towards us. Every two or three minutes, the bird speared what appeared to be young bullfish, an abundant Minnesota catfish, inhabiting even muddy, shallow, or polluted waters of the state.
We did not think the egret was in any way impaired, escecially considering its apparent fishing success. When the bird finally flew, however, its legs seemed to dangle to the right and its muddy toes appeared to be oddly opened. While the bird foraged, however, nothing seemed to be amiss.

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