Sunday, March 22, 2015

More Waders

As I continue to review the wetland waders photographed in Florida, I have to give a place of prominence to the Cattle Egret, which were just coming into their nuptial splendor.

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egrets are native to Africa where they forage alongside camels, ostriches, rhinos, and tortoises - as well as farmers’ tractors. The one occasion in Vermont when I saw the Cattle Egret, it was following a tractor as it plowed a field in Spring.

Cattle Egret
These birds somehow found their way to South America; the first record was in 1877, which may make them officially an exotic (non-native). They arrived in the United States in 1941 and were nesting by 1953. Cattle Egrets spread throughout North America and are common to abundant in some areas.

Cattle Egret
When the White Ibis appears in Cape May, it usually creates a stir, with birders carefully reporting its presence and location and pursuing it with considerable intent. This may have been the most common wader I saw in Florida; these birds were wading in wetlands, grazing on lawns, usually in flocks.
White Ibis

White Ibis

Snowy Egrets have made a wonderful recovery from the devastations of the feather trade a hundred years ago, and are common north and south. There will be additional photos of the nuptial splendor of these dainty birds, but this will do for now.

Snowy Egret

True birds of the southern swamps are the solitary and secretive Limpkin (falling taxonomically in the vicinity of the rails and cranes) and the Great White Heron. A bird of the Everglades and Keys, the Great White Heron is currently considered a sub-species of the Great Blue Heron.


Great White Heron

Good Birding!!

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