Monday, April 26, 2010

Great-Egret Chicks Here and All Rookery Birds on Site!

For a while last month, the rookery looked sad and ragged.  In addition to the naturally disappeared periphery, several cedar elms had collapsed from the last snow storm, old age, or other causes, exposing much of the place.  It was as though the rooms of a large residence had lost many of their walls, allowing one to see through the ruins from one end to the other.  The lack of foliage should have made for easy photos, but the great egrets were exceptionally nervous.

It took surprisingly little time for new shrubbery to regrow along the periphery and privacy to be restored.  The great egrets settled into their nests almost immediately.  So rapidly in fact, that although they arrived in Dallas a week later than usual this year, their nests are right on schedule.  Last week we found several of them filled with bobbing, spiky-headed chicks.  They looked to be already about two weeks old.  At all hours of day and night, the place now resounds with Quak-quak! Quak-quak! Quak-quak! Quak-quak!

Large parties of ibises circle over the rookery, particularly in the afternoons.  The anhingas are back too, gliding high overhead.  Their silhouetted triangular tails are unmistakable.

One of us has discovered that large parties of great egrets leave the rookery at dawn.    They number over five hundred -- far too many to issue from only this site.  So it appears that individuals from other places are gathering at the rookery before going out together  to feed at some body of water.  Presumably near to the rookery as the egret flies?  It would be interesting to discover where this is.

The cattle egrets, usually the last ones here, arrived this week.  They are in gorgeous form, all golden on the head and chest.  The little-blue herons are on site too.

The interpretive signs still look terrific.  The new "no tresspassing" signs, on the other hand, seem much more fragile than the old ones.  Several are already warped.  It is unclear what caused this.  Surely not the wind?  One near the memorial garden is lying in the grass after being knocked off its post by a fallen hackberry branch.

Whenever anybody complains to me about our overabundance of rain this year, I tell them I am hoping for more cool and wet weather for the birds' sake.  They deserve a break.  So far, so good.

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