Photos by BarrytheBirder
I made a return visit to Luther Marsh, north-west of Orangeville, this week, to see Great White Egrets. I arrived later in the day this time and stayed until almost sunset. The egrets started gliding in, from unknown points north, a little after 7 p.m. I suppose I was expecting 250 to 300 birds to arrive all at the same time, drop down right in front of me, and I would take dozens of prize-winning photos of these wonderful creatures. It doesn't work quite like that however. They arrived intermittently... one, two, sometimes three at a time. There was no sound, no warning, they just appeared overhead, floating into the marsh and the snags of dead trees, before making an abrupt turn and dropping down onto logs or directly into shallow water. It all seemed so casual that I forgot to count them. Unfortunately, they were landing about 300 to 400 metres away from me and in a spot of the marsh that was completely surrounded by and hence unapproachable from my vantage point. I decided to set my camera aside. It wasn't going to be a photographic outing. I decided to enjoy the scene for what it was worth. Egrets continued to show up according to their own schedule and I admired every one as they arced across the sky. I watched for almost 45 minutes and realized that unless I retreated I might be walking in unfamiliar territory, in the dark. Then I realized I had not counted the Great Whites I had seen. I stood on a bit of a knoll and looked over the roosting territory. I quickly counted approximately 60 egrets, plus one Great Blue Heron. It was a most satisfying experience, though not as dramatic as I had naively anticipated earlier in the evening.
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