Whatever

It starts with a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) spending the rainy afternoon fishing in the shallows.  Along comes a great egret (Ardea alba).  The second bird approaches the first.  Then a funny territorial spat seems imminent.  The great blue heron displays and rushes to intercept the egret.  The great egret ignores and walks on by.

These photos cover about 15 seconds of time.  The first three show the heron moving toward the egret.  Meanwhile, the egret strolls casually as if unaware of the heron’s presence, let alone its challenge.

A great blue heron (Ardea herodias) giving a territorial wings-open display (2009_07_26_027839)
A great egret (Ardea alba) strolling by a defensive great blue heron (Ardea herodias) (2009_07_26_027840)
A great egret (Ardea alba) strolling by a defensive great blue heron (Ardea herodias) (2009_07_26_027841)
A great egret (Ardea alba) strolling by a defensive great blue heron (Ardea herodias) (2009_07_26_027842)
A great egret (Ardea alba) strolling by a defensive great blue heron (Ardea herodias) (2009_07_26_027843)
A great egret (Ardea alba) strolling by a defensive great blue heron (Ardea herodias) (2009_07_26_027844)

In the end, the heron seems almost nonplussed, deflated even, and the egret seems rather nonchalant, the epitome of that oft overused dismissive interjection: Whatever…

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As an aside, the rookery has blossomed.  All but the cattle egrets have arrived, and I suspect that species will make an appearance in the very near future.  Ibises, anhingas, egrets and herons fill the motte, not to mention the several dozen other bird species who nest and/or hunt there.  It looks to be another great year for this urban marvel.  I can’t wait to share it with you.

10 thoughts on “Whatever”

  1. Great photo sequence! I was just reading a National Geographic article (August, 1954) on the cattle egrets and their first arrival in the US in the 1950’s. Soon you’ll have a bit of Africa near your urban marvel.

    1. Thanks, Adrian!

      I’ve always been fascinated by the cattle egret range expansion. I think according to Birds of North America it’s considered one of the fastest and most widespread expansions amongst birds. And last year we had about 2400 cattle egrets at the rookery; they usually outnumber all the other species. Since they’re often the last to arrive, they sort of define the zenith of the colony’s yearly habitation.

    1. Thank you, Jain! Admittedly I chuckled while watching this. The whole idea of “whatever…” is precisely what ran through my head at the time.

  2. What an amusing scene, Jason. Couldn’t have described it better. I visited the rookery last weekend, briefly, and simply cannot wait to go back. I did take my camera and hope to share some of those photos soon too. That small patch of forest is an amazing spectacle!

    1. I’m so glad you’re getting a chance to visit the rookery, Amber. I know you’ll appreciate it and I know you’ll fall in love with the seemingly impossible spectacle of it all. Just wait until the chicks start showing up…

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