Sunday, February 24, 2013

Egrets of Southern Florida

White dots: Great and Snowy Egrets, joined by Herons, Ibis, and Storks, Big Cypress National Preserve, FL; 12/26/2012.
After travelling through Southern Florida at the end of 2012, and hitting many of the important bird hotspots in the area, we could see white specks dotting the landscape everywhere we went. These white dots, of course, were the many white birds found in Florida: White Ibis, juvenile Little Blue Herons, White Great Blue Herons, White Pelicans and the three white Egrets - Great, Snowy and Cattle. These white birds proved to be a great contrast to the dark brown and greens fields, and the blue lakes and oceans that cover Florida. The photo (Above) is a a good representative what one may see just driving down the highway.

A Great Egret wading in the marsh of  the Corkscrew Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, FL; 12/26/2012.
The first of the three white Egrets found in Florida is the Great White Egret (Above), which we also see up in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin during the summer months. The Great White, as its name suggests is the largest of the Egrets, standing at 39" tall. Below you can see its size next to the Little Blue Heron (24") and White Ibis (25").
A Great White Egret towering over a White Ibis and Little Blue Heron, Ding Darling NWR, FL; 12/30/2012.
More Great Egret Pics (Below):
Great Egret on the South Pier, St. Petersburg, FL; 12/25/2012.
A Great Egret looking like it's doing a stand-up comic routine, South Pier, St. Petersburg, FL; 12/25/2012.
Snowy Egret, Lovers Key State Park, FL; 12/26/2012.
Snowy Egrets (Above), another of the big three white egrets were also very well represented throughout Southern Florida. We saw them in fields, in lakes, in marshes, along roadsides, and along ocean beaches. (Below) are more Snowy pics:
A Snowy Egret perched on a dormant bush in the fields of the Everglades NP, FL; 12/29/2012.

A Snowy Egret being dwarfed by a Wood Stork along the roadside canal at the Oasis Visitor Center, Big Cypress National Preserve, FL; 12/26/2012.

A wedge of Snowy Egrets roosting with Ibis and Herons at a pond, Everglades Nat. park, FL; 12/29/2012.
At 20", the smallest of the three white Egrets are the Cattle Egrets (Below), which are found more in the grasslands and open fields than the water as other Egrets.
Cattle Egret, Everglades NP, FL; 12/28/2012.
Another Cattle Egret, Everglades NP, FL; 12/28/2012.
I don't think I could have driven more than a mile in the Everglades without seeing a white dot out my window. It may be that because "white" a more visible color than the blues, grays and browns of tother wading birds, but it seemed that Egrets dominated the landscape of the Everglades, which should be renamed "The Land of the White Birds."

No comments: