I can tell Christmas is almost here by the signs of growing stress while out and about. It all really starts on Black Friday … let me take that back, thanks to greedy merchants and blunt force trauma of Christmas advertising campaigns it really starts in mid-October. This premature blitz causes some serious angst with me as it is a clear war on my favorite holiday Halloween. Pretty sure the Kringle capitalists want to dispense with the orange and black and force a solid 3 month barrage of sleigh bells and, god forbid, horrible version after horrible version of Santa Baby. It may just be me, but by the time this traditionally festive time comes to a head I am worn out. Sure, I like to entertain myself by spending time at popular merchants observing frantic people desperate to fill the void under the tree or get that hot item that sold out … in October, but you have to feel a bit saddened to see the impact a once joy-centric event now has on society. Linda gives me a hard time about my tradition of going to the stores on Christmas Eve to experience this devolution – this is what psychology enthusiasts do for fun. I cannot speak for other countries and cultures, but if you happen to live in the US, take a look around and start assessing the happiness of those around you, especially on the road, in the parking lots and especially in the cashier lines – what percentage give the impression they are glad to be there? If they do look happy, they are probably psychology majors ha! Feel bad about the downer opening, but really just hoping you can take a breath and remember the holiday should really be about family, relaxation and well, blogging!
Finally worked up a long series for my other blog (ironically focused on Halloween), but before investing in that effort, thought I’d get another bird post out for my wildlife readers. Going with one of the big boys today.
The Reddish Egret is not the largest of the shorebirds, but still tower over the standard peeps and plovers whose shorter legs force them to forage closer to the shore. In fact, just the three toed foot of the Egrets are larger than some of those birds. Those other shorebirds don’t seem to be stressed by the size different, since I have never seen a Reddish, or for that matter any Egret, waste their time harassing the smaller birds – probably worried some stressed out piper trying to get a last minute Xmas gift will go medieval on them. Nope these Egrets are calm, cool and collected as they keep an eye out for an unfortunate frog (now, frogs do have a legitimate reason to be stressed).
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the two-toned Egret!
This particular Reddish specimen comes to us courtesy of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge along the Texas Gulf Coast. I can tell you simply by looking at the picture and the distance away from the subject that this was on our December 2016 birding trip. On that visit two years ago, we were able to photograph a large number of birds directly out from the observation deck at the back part of the refuge. Still needed some decent glass, but plenty of targets in range to fill the tin including a few Alligators keeping a close eye on anything that forgot about how dangerous those waters can get. The larger birds have a definite advance in that area thanks to being able to see much further out. On our second visit back in December 2017, the water had receded significantly.
The small pond filled with the gigantic mother Alligator and her 500 offspring had dried up causing them to relocate (feel sorry for whatever wildlife was – tense intentional – in the area they moved to). The shoreline had also moved out way beyond the observation deck causing problems for even The Beast to pull in subjects (will be renting a 600mm the next time we head down there). Luckily, back in 2016 we had no trouble observing this nice looking Egret as it stealthily moved about looking for prey. At one point, it did look a little startled… “Holy Crap! I think that rock just open its eyes” This got me a little concerned as well having seen that mass of Alligators just up the road. Eventually it settled down and carried on with its daily routine – still left me a bit concerned, opting to keep that from Linda just in case she would get any ideas about kneecapping me and leaving me to fend for myself (she has a history of that).
We are almost at our travel destination now and need to wrap up the post – heading up North to spend some time with Linda’s family and relatives. It will be a bit different this year having recently lost Linda’s Mother. If I do not make it back here before then, Merry Christmas to everyone – remember, family over gifts, relaxation over stress and please, turn off the radio if Santa Baby comes on.