Snowy Egret in the Stainton Wildlife Refuge, Ocean City, August 5.
This freshwater marsh in a suburban setting is a very young wildlife refuge and bears watching in the coming years. It is well situated and has the potential to grow into a wonderful roost area for many wading birds and shorebirds. Visitors are currently rewarded with close-up views of many wading birds from an easily accessible viewing platform.
Morning view from the viewing platform.
There were tiny shorebirds, ducks, herons and egrets, plus red-winged blackbirds and sparrows – though this photo doesn’t do the birds justice.
I think this is a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron.
They live in fresh, salt, and brackish wetlands and are the most widespread heron in the world.
This would be a very cool photo is my camera were all the way in focus. The problem with the super-zoom point-and-shoot sometimes, it’s grainy. A tripod would help, no doubt.
Snowy egrets are the ones with the yellow feet.
Among the most elegant of the herons, the slender Snowy Egret sets off immaculate white plumage with black legs and brilliant yellow feet. Those feet seem to play a role in stirring up or herding small aquatic animals as the egret forages. Breeding Snowy Egrets grow filmy, curving plumes that once fetched astronomical prices in the fashion industry, endangering the species. Early conservationists rallied to protect egrets by the early twentieth century, and this species is once again a common sight in shallow coastal wetlands.
Snowy Egrets wade in shallow water to spear fish and other small aquatic animals. While they may employ a sit-and-wait technique to capture their food, sometimes they are much more animated, running back and forth through the water with their wings spread, chasing their prey.