Egret On the Hunt

Mickey Raine sent this awesome sequence of photos taken at DeKorte yesterday culminating in a Snowy Egret swallowing his afternoon snack. Mickey has a way with words and it’s always a pleasure to share the narratives he sends accompanying his photos. Mickey writes:

I was so glad to have gone to DeKorte Park in the Meadowlands yesterday (Monday April 11). Over the weekend, a couple of the early arriving Snowy Egrets offered a nice twilight hunt performance at Mill Creek Marsh, working their way in and around the ancient cedar stumps with such precision striking as they searched for their finned dinner. The late day tone in the sky added to the aura of the landscape, making it quite attractive to watch for some time.

It was approaching 3 pm at DeKorte yesterday when my peripheral vision caught rapid movement to the right, just where the first inlet, if you will, exists.  Sandwiched between the tall dense reeds, the elongated pool of water provides a wonderful spot for private fishing, and if the hunter possesses the superb skills and agility of the Snowy Egret, then visitors may very well be in for a spectacular demonstration of master hunting.

I stopped instantly, and prepared the telelens and camera for capturing whatever awaited.  Even if this lone Snowy Egret decided not to hunt, but simply stand or walk about in its graceful style, that would have been fine; however, this one was in a hunting mode, and what I witnessed was by far the most extensive exhibition of this phenomenal bird’s athleticism.

The lightening fast movements were amazing, for this creature covered the whole area, sometimes running through the water and bed of mud beneath as if on solid land, while other times shooting up into the air in short flight formation and landing so quickly, all while displaying precision striking into the water and retrieving a fair size fish in most cases, which, of course, would end up sliding down its throat.

It would zigzag all over, then stop on a dime, freeze as if a statue, and then either proceed very, very gingerly toward the direction of its next prey or twist and dance in one smooth, continuous motion, in order to capture what swam just below.

The experience was absolutely exciting, and once again, as I have said on several occasions before, there really is a lot of similarities in movement between certain birds and dinosaurs.  Whether it be the Jurassic Park movie trilogy or science channel programs, when seeing how so many of the bipedal prehistoric carnivores moved across the landscape, one cannot help but associate the movements of the Snowy Egret and a slew of others today with that of the great dinosaurs.




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