A novice birder's observation of birds and other natural wildlife with wings ... or maybe not with wings...
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Cattle Egret in the fields on Oahu, Hawaii
When I was in Hawaii in the summer of 2008, I saw flocks of Cattle Egret (Above, 6-25-08, Oahu) , especially in fields on the islands of Oahu and on Kauai. This is the first time I have run across these Egrets. They are the smallest of the White Heron family, only growing up to 20" tall compared to the Great Egret (39" tall). Since I have learned that they are common along the southern coasts of Florida and throughout the Gulf as well as along the Pacific coast stretching from Mexico all the up to Northern California. In the summer they will be found inland in the Southern states and as far up as Kansas, Missouri, Southern Illinois, and believe it or not, the grasslands of North Dakota. This is not all that surprising, because when I saw them in Hawaii, they seemed to be more of an open field and grassland bird than a shorebird. They have mostly white plumage with feint yellowish-pinkish feathers on its crown, back and breast during mating season. In both photos (Above and Below), you can see those colorings. Although their feet are not visible in the photos, they are yellow during breeding (Mar - July), and turn dark during off breeding months (Aug - Feb).
Cattle Egret in the jungle brush near Hanakapai Waterfall, Kauai.
In Kauai, while hiking the Kalalau Trail we were surprised to find a solo Cattle Egret (Above, 7-10-08, Kauai) foraging among the jungle brush at Hanakapai Falls. All of our other obsevations seemed that this bird stayed in small flocks and in open fields. However, this guy either knew something that the other Cattle Egret didn't, or he was very lost.
Hello, I have always been interested in birds, undoubtedly influenced by my mother and grandmother. As a young boy I remember paging through my parents' bird books. Both my Mom and Grandma would identify birds by both their songs and their looks. I enjoy nature and being out in it as often as I am able. Being a teacher helps - as I have much of the summer to do just that. I have done some nature and wildlife photography, but until a few years ago I never thought about photographing birds thinking that it would be too difficult - too small and too flighty. After a few thousand photos, my girlfriend suggested that I open a blog sharing some of the pictures that I have taken and hopefully will be taking in the future.
During the 3 years that have been writing this blog, I have graduated from my first camera, a Sony Digital, to my 2nd, a Canon Rebel T1i, to finally my 3rd and current camera - Canon EOS7D. I started with the standard 18-55mm lens, which I soon found was totally impractical. I then purchased a Canon 55-250mm which I used for quite some time, until I bought my current lens, Sigma 150-500mm.