On Sunday, my golf cart ran out of steam, just as I was zooming past Huyler House pond to drop my Mom off for the ferry. It didn’t completely die, just coughed to a crawl, and I prevailed upon some friendly renters to help her meet the ferry while I continued my glacial journey around the impoundment. By the time I got to my favorite birding corner, the boat was long gone, but they were birding and watching a large reddish egret whirl around and race through the shallows in search of minnows. At first glance, I thought it was a Little Blue Heron, but the beak was dark, the bird was pale gray, and it was bigger than that. The thing that struck me most, though, was the feeding style.
This guy was one agitated twirler…. throwing wings out, leaping and hopping, running and pausing. Since it was happily feeding, I decided to limp home and get a camera (and a charged cart!). After three trips back and forth (for the camera, the tripod, and the field guide) I was able to identify the new bird as a juvenile reddish egret. (It helps that the “Sibley guide says, “foraging behavior distinctive: running, spinning, and flapping while literally chasing fish through shallow water.)
It’s part of the magic of the island (and not a bad metaphor for life in general!) By slowing down, you see something special you might have missed at full speed. The corner is a really productive place to bird: you never know when you’ll come across a new bird right there.