Duck and Egret Meet to Dine
Of late, on walks to the ocean, I often see a duck and an egret foraging together.
They wade, waddle, stalk or paddle in the little strait that joins Mecox Bay
to saltwater Channel Pond.
The unprepossessing little white bridge that passes over the channel is one of the best spots around for spotting herons and egrets.
A great blue heron or a snowy egret is almost always fishing in the shallows at one side of the bridge or the other.
Sometimes there are more than one.
Lately, a solitary female duck has been dabbling here. Sometimes she is on her own.
But more often she shares the spot with a snowy egret.
Now and then another bird joins the fine fishing spot, as did this belted kingfisher, perched on a piling to the left.
You can’t see it in the photos, but the snowy egret was also present, although hidden behind low-hanging branches on the right.
There are plenty of egrets around, so it’s possible that the duck is with a different egret each time I see it.
But I prefer to imagine that she and a particular egret, despite their differences in shape, eating habits and behavior, have forged a friendship of sorts.
If I were Beatrix Potter, I’d write and draw a story about unlikely companions.
But lest I seem to have wandered too far into cozy animal fantasyland, I’m well aware that the larger herons and egrets eat ducklings whenever they can get them.
Still the ability to kill doesn’t negate the possibility of companionship. Just look at us humans. And watching animals, domestic and wild, teaches me that within the general behavior of each species is plenty of room for individual variation, including behaviors that lie outside the norm.
So I think I’ll reserve the right to imagine that this particular duck and this particular egret are so often spotted together because, quite simply, they take pleasure in each other’s company.
Ah me, if only I could draw. Well, here is a drawing of a waterbird by someone who can – Sophie Webb, biologist and illustrator.2012, Art and Literature, Birds, Fall, In the Country, Seasons, Wildlife/Natural History
This entry was posted on September 16, 2012 at 9:52 am and is filed under 2012, Art and Literature, Birds, Fall, In the Country, Seasons, Wildlife/Natural History. You can subscribe via RSS 2.0 feed to this post's comments.comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.