Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday, July 26th, 2012 has risen as the 37th day of summer. On the day of Great Egret, why not schedule some fishing for the remaining 57 days of summer?

It wasn't raining when I fell asleep with a window open to cool my apartment. When I awoke at 4:30 AM, the rain was hitting the screen and I walked over wet carpet to close the window. The moisture has been drying all day, and I left a fan running, exhausting to outdoors, to draw out the damp air. I hope my carpet won't turn musty. On my ride, the rain had damped the asphalt, but I wasn't being splashed by my tires. I saw two squirrels who had dared the road and lost, on the white line, a matter of feet from one another. If the road had teeth, those teeth would be rubber tires, chewing up the roadkill into portions edible by crows to microbes. The dead raccoon of Wednesday morning had started to stink, and repeated tire chewing had opened up the belly and brain for the crows. In the end, the corpse is pulverized and torn, and birds fly off with bits. Animals carry chunks to their lairs. A shred of fur remaining here and there tells the tale.
Rain tends to bring small fish to the surface, and larger fish up from the deeps to gulp the small fish. Wellesley Drive again had a bird show, and in the bay there I saw a Great Egret. I have looked at wader pictures from Wikipedia and WhatBird, and I am still uncertain if  I saw a Great Egret or not. I always think of the Egret as more slender in body and neck than the Blue Heron. I saw the wader from a distance of one hundred feet, and it turned its back to me, pirouetting in the shallows. Okay, I used the word because I liked it. I couldn't see its toes. I couldn't see if the Egret turned on one leg. The effect looked like pirouetting.  The turn was graceful and quick. The airport runways stare down at this bay, which has no name. I am sure the past was removed from this stretch of Mona Lake when the airport was built. I wonder if the flats had a name, the name of an owner and his landing. Small steamers once plied the waters of Mona Lake, and the steamers brought visitors and supplies to the landings. Wellesley Drive came after the day of steamers on Mona Lake.
The Great Egret looks like a regal bird, a visitor of only the best water. I saw one in a drainage ditch running before the Kmart on Highland Road in Waterford, Michigan. I was sure this one was a Great Egret because the white feathered bird kept scanning the water for fish as dozens of cars passed. I got an eyeful as I drove slowly by in rush hour traffic.
I am thinking about the great bird population collapse of the period from 1870 to 1970. We couldn't help ourselves. We shotgunned migratory waterfowl flying from Virginia to the Maryland Cape, the path now traced by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The birds flew that migratory funnel to save strength and enterprising hunters took hundreds to the market. They fed their families and paid off their mortgages. We harvested Passenger Pigeons by the millions, even fed them to swine. We couldn't help ourselves. The Passenger Pigeon didn't have the Indians controlling their access to mast, and the population exploded. We were living in cities, and we had to dress up to attract the attention of fellow society strivers. We decorated our hats with Great Egret plumes, and we harvested egrets for food and fashion. We didn't know better. Today, the conservation status of the Great Egret stands at Least Concern. Yes, yet I have noticed only one this summer, and that Great Egret fished alone. When a bird population grows too large, we wonder if we have to cull it, shake its eggs. Ask a pharmaceutical company to design a birth control pill.  I wish we could give all the species one hundred messy, inconvenient years to repopulate. I would like to go once in my life where the bird populations flock in primal numbers. I love it when even feral parakeets take over power transformers on poles in Florida.
It's hard to believe, but even the ubiquitous Canadian Goose dwindled to surprisingly low numbers. The Canadian Goose was thought wiped out in the 1950s, and then Harold Hanson of the Illinois Natural History Survey found a flock in Rochester, Minnesota. The year, 1962, was the year before my birth. The return of the Canadian Goose occurred during my lifetime, an amazing fact to me.
No Regret. We still enjoy the Great Egret:
Photo Credits:
Eastern Great Egret with fish.
17 December 2007(2007-12-17) (original upload date)
Googie Man
A Great Egret in flight at Palo Alto Baylands, San Francisco Bay, California, USA.
Great Egret (also known as the Great White Egret or Common Egret); parent on nest with chicks at Morro Bay Heron Rookery, USA.
Casmerodius albus, found at Parque del Este, in Venezuela.
12 May 2012
Paolo Costa Baldi
Photo by Paolo Costa Baldi. License: GFDL/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Great Egret strikes for a fish, close-up.
Fran├žais : Vue en gros plan d'une Grande aigrette attrapant un poisson.
2009-03-01 11:11 (UTC
Brocken Inaglory

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