Thursday, July 28, 2005

Beauty and the Beast

Two recent visitors:

A Great Egret (Ardea alba)

and two Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus)

The Black Vulture isn't really a beast of course. He's just got an image problem.

"Hey, compared to the Turkey Vulture, I'm a beauty queen!"

Actually I think they're both beauties. We see Turkey Vultures a lot more than Black Vultures, so I was tickled to see these guys perched in a dead tree last week on a foggy morning.

The Great Egret has decided that he likes our fishing hole and has been hanging around for the past week, getting used to us. The Great Blue Heron is the only one not happy about that.

He seems to think he's got exclusive fishing rights, and intimidates the Great Egret with lots of squawking and flapping. "Heron fight! Heron fight!"


Anonymous said...

We have turkey vultures up here in Missouri, and when L and I swim in our lake, we usually get one to pass over us slowly. It's a little unnerving when you think about what he must consider our bobbing heads to be.

Anonymous said...

nice digiscoping!

my parents were so happy when we moved into a house with a pond several years back and there were at least a couple egrets on the pond at any given time (along with wood ducks, mergansers, geese, green herons, great blue herons, etc.). my mom said seeing an egret was almost unheard of when she was growing up (thanks to pesticides). interestingly, they've only seen one or two egrets all year on the pond this year and last... not sure what happened, if there aren't any fish in the pond anymore (it's a nasty little swamp of a pond) or maybe something else. they sure are pretty though.

robin andrea said...

Beautiful white heron. You are doing such a great job digiscoping.
We're about to buy a full-size heron pond ornament to see if it will keep the real thing out of our pond. We've got some 2nd generation goldfish we're trying to protect, and the herons got nearly all of goldfish last year.
(Hey--That's a new Dharma Bum, not DPR or me!)

Karen Schmautz said...

Beautiful Egrets. We have Turkey Vultures here, also, and they are UG-LEEE. But, they sure do clean up the dead squirrels on the roads. Heh!

dharma bum said...

RD - :)

I never quite knew what kind of fish the herons and egrets came to our pond to feast on, though I know it's full of bullheads. Perhaps they ate enough fish to put a permanent dent in the population? Anyone seen something like that before?

L said...

great photos -- looks like Florida :)

Rurality said...

Thanks y'all. I'm having fun with the digiscoping. Another camera would probably do better - this one has so much vignetting.

Pablo - they'd probably only go after you if you smelled like you were rotting, LOL.

DB they also used to kill the birds just for their feathers, which were used in hats. I doubt the herons would eat all the fish out of a pond, unless you're talking about a small water garden. When I've watched them here, I see them eating mostly small fish.

RD it was y'all doing it that made me realize that I should try it too.

Hick, yeah I'd hate to think of how bad things would be without vultures. I really enjoy watching them kettle on the thermals.

Blue2go, makes perfect sense to me. :)

L, it's almost as hot as Florida these days. Only no beach around here.

OK here is my bad heron joke:
Egrets, I've had a few...

Crowe said...

We frequently see egrets along the Hayle Estuary here in Cornwall. 10 years ago the sight of an egret anywhere in Britain would bring birdwatchers rushing from all over the country to see it but today they are almost commonplace in some locations. I guess their presence is here is a sign of global warming or some other altered environmental factor. But they are beautiful, even if their presence here in the UK may be indicative of something going badly wrong in the world.

Crowe said...

Sorry for my incoherence. I really need to have my morning coffee before I try doing anything as complicated as writing. Or thinking.

Anonymous said...

Sara, I thought you were quite eloquent in describing a concern I had never heard of before.

Rurality, yes, I have a hard time believing they could have "fished out" the pond... My question doesn't make a lot of sense looking back on it. Just curious as to where the egrets went. (Maybe the U.K.?)

By the way, great heron joke, though it left me feeling a little blue. :)

Anonymous said...

love the photographs. have you ever seen the way that vultures sit facing the morning sun and hold out their wings? i know there is a scientific reason, but i can't help but think it looks like they are worshipping the start of the day.