Sunday, April 21, 2013

No (R)egrets, No Longer

On Friday, after a 60 hour work week, I checked the tide time tables, packed up my Camelback backpack, and headed on down to Dana Point on my bike to parkour across the rocks, look in the tide pools, get closer to nature, and try and decompress.  My first 50 feet into the boulder hopping, I saw this stunning egret, and I paused to take a few photos. (not far from the star fish I saw here)
While the egret might not look too large, keep in mind that each one of those rocks ranges in size from "as big as your head" to "as big as a 1960's wooden framed RCA television".  I tried to stay a good 15 to 20 feet away from the hunting egret, but the bird was rather skittish.
And kept flying westward as I tried to parkour past it.  Not far from where I first sighted the egret was a female rufous hummingbird snatching gnats out of the air, flitting about, chir-chir-chirping in rapid stacco as I approached a mass of rotting seaweed that was host to 100s of gnats and flies.  I've seen egrets before (in SC, AZ [near the Roosevelt canals], and in CA) but never this close, and never this tolerant of my presence and photography.
It was very cool to see, and an experience I will not soon forget.

I am not sure exactly what the egret was hunting, as I've never seen any fish of an appreciable size in the tide pools.  Yes, there's all sorts of fry, and tiny immature fish, and no shortage of barnacles, hermit crabs, seaweed, and mussels, but actual fish that would satisfy an egret?  I've not seen them.  I don't have visual acuity as keen as an egret's though  =)  ...and if it was larger crab that the egret was patiently hunting, then I am sure that at high tide that was a happy hunting ground, as violently as the surf was crashing onto the rocks.

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