Competition for resources

So I’m watching a snowy egret (Egretta thula) as it hunts in the shallows.

Snowy egret (Egretta thula) fishing in the shallows (2009_07_26_027911)

Several times I blow the picture I’m trying to take because I’m laughing too hard to hold the camera still.  Why?  Because the lively bird continually engages in a hunting dance similar to what the reddish egret does.

Snowy egret (Egretta thula) trying to scare up fish (2009_07_26_027884)

Suddenly the wings spread and flutter a bit, the bird runs and hops and dashes madly from place to place, and then it stops abruptly and watches, waiting to see if it scared up a fish or two.

Snowy egret (Egretta thula) fishing in the shallows (2009_07_26_027877)

Back and forth it goes as it repeats this entertaining behavior.

Little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) standing in the shallows (2009_07_26_027978)

Then along comes a little blue heron (Egretta caerulea).

Snowy egret (Egretta thula) chasing a little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) (2009_07_26_027934)

The snowy egret doesn’t like the competition and gives chase, its plumage flared up as it fusses at the dark bird.

Snowy egret (Egretta thula) stalking a little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) (2009_07_26_027973)

Not wanting any drama, the little blue heron moves away to give the snowy some room.  But the snowy follows…

Snowy egret (Egretta thula) watching a little blue heron (Egretta caerulea)(2009_07_26_027965)

And from then on, the little blue gets no peace whatsoever.  Each time it pauses, the snowy rushes over to harass it and make sure it doesn’t steal any fish.

Snowy egret (Egretta thula) following a little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) (2009_07_26_027964)

I watch this interaction for nearly 10 minutes.  Eventually, though, the little blue heron tires of the snowy’s bothersome antics and moves on.

Having secured its territory, the snowy flies away as well.

That leaves the great blue heron and the great egret to enjoy the bay all to themselves.

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