Saturday, February 09, 2008

All Egrets, All the Time

He who finds a thought that enables him to obtain a slightly deeper
glimpse into the eternal secrets of nature has been given great grace.
~Albert Einstein

I was settled in on the couch yesterday morning with my coffee and plans to watch a previously-recorded TV show. I got as far as the opening credits when I happened to glance out the window. Hmm, blue sky, sunshine, and the tops of the trees aren't moving...what happened to the wind? I went outside to check out the weather and abruptly changed my morning plans. The boat was still loaded in the car from the last trip, so it wasn't long before I was on the road for a return trip to the Wacissa.

It was warm on the river with barely a breeze. The water was back to being calm as glass, and paddling was easy.

I spotted an egret along the shoreline near Cassidy Spring. I informed it out loud and in no uncertain terms that I was not going to take its picture; I have enough egret photos, thank you very much. It took off. I took its picture.

I paddled into Blue Spring. It took me a while to find the gator that is always at the spring--it was fairly well camouflaged by the green surface flora and the leaves on the bank.

I drifted downriver with the current. I spotted this moorhen and felt certain it was going to run across the water as I approached, so I focused on it and waited. It never fled, but it was so pretty in the sun that I took the photo anyway.

There was quite a gathering in the middle of the river.

I got close to the Calico Hill boat ramp before I decided to turn around and make my way back upstream.

I was wondering where the otters that are usually in this area were. It didn't take long to find them--or for them to find me. They peered at me over the surface plants.

I had time, I was not fighting any current, so I followed them to the river edge, where they disappeared amongst some reeds. I paddled through the clumps of reeds (I'm sure there's a better name than "clumps" but I can't think of it right now) to see if I could find them. This one seemed surprised to see me.

Two more were near the river's edge. I sat there in the boat taking photo after photo of them, and they pretty much just stared back at me. I think they are getting used to paddlers and don't feel too threatened by us.

After taking many pictures, I thanked them and moved on to leave them alone.

I came to another egret. I explained that really, I didn't need any more egret photos right now. It flew off. I took a few photos of it as it went.


(I think I have egretitis--the inability to not take photos of egrets, particularly when they spread their wings and fly away. I'm not sure if there is a treatment or cure for this.)

As I was attempting to sneak up on a male wood duck (yeah...dream on) near Cassidy Spring on my way upstream, I spotted this black crowned night heron.

And then who should appear but more otters!

I was a little disapppointed that I had not gotten any great blue heron photos. You wouldn't know it from how egret-intensive my posts are, but they are my favorite birds, whether they are standing still or flying. I rarely see any upriver of Cassidy so I had given up on them for this day. But to my surprise, there was one standing at the edge of the river. I paddled slowly toward it, hoping to not scare it away before I was close enough. I almost made it. And I ended up with a somewhat unusual capture of a bird taking off.

They really have almost no bodies at all...they are all wings and legs.

I hated to leave the river but it was getting late in the day.

I'll be back next time I get out paddling. Stand by.


Anonymous said...

The clumps are called "tussocks." I went out today.

silentspringfl said...

Wow, as I can see others on this blog keep saying in different ways. My soul is recharged, once again, from Peggy’s gifted photography. “Egretitis”? I love it, and if it’s contagious, I want it!

Anonymous said...

Put another way, for those of us who know the song, "if there's a cure for this, I don't want it"!

Emory said...

I love how the egrets wings are kind of translucent. You do a really god job of capturing them flying.

SophieMae said...

Check out the gams on that Great Blue! My plans for the refuge today got cancelled, but you've got me thinking maybe I need to just run down there, anyhow. I need an egret fix myownself. 8-]

OldHorsetailSnake said...

That's a dandy spur-of-the-moment trip, young lady. Thanks.

Stacie said...

This whole post just made me happy! Gorgeous photos as always...I sooooo can't wait till it warms up and I can get back out there.