Kindling Neighborly Connections between People and Nature.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

A Great Day starts with a Great Egret (Near Front Street Bridge; Athens, PA)

The subtle beauty of birds like the warbling vireo garner the appreciation of observant birders. The striking beauty of birds like the bald eagle immediately capture the attention of every passerby. The great egret who showed up near the south end of the Diahoga Trail this morning clearly lands in the second category of avian beauty. I made some new friends while watching this great egret along the banks of the Susquehanna River near the intersection of River and Satterlee Streets. First, I had the joy of sharing the experience with a recent new friend, Cathy. Then I met Sarah who was walking the river trail and had stopped to take a look. After that I met Justin, who saw me looking at something and walked over to find out what it was.

The orange bill and black legs are key identifying features. Notice how the long neck us held in an 'S" shape in flight while the legs are held straight back.

This particular bird probably did not breed in The Valley. It likely flew in from along the coast or down from Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge to the north of Cayuga Lake. Now that nestlings have fledged, this is the time of year when herons as well as shorebirds are on the move. Since the great egret is the first non-breeding bird I've observed here this Summer, its visit marks the early cusp of the fall migration season. What great joy! There is no telling what interesting bird-life will show up in days and weeks to come, especially since this area (with the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chemung Rivers) creates a natural migration corridor.

I'm thankful for my wild neighbor the great egret, I'm thankful for the people with whom I shared this experience, and I'm thankful that the Fall migration has begun!

A typical spot for a great egret; at the edge of the water.
The great egret perched atop a pine tree for a little while.
There's an egret in the neighborhood. Can you see it in this photo?

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