© 2011 Mark Seth Lender
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It is not only Birds of a Feather who flock together. Along with more Great Egrets than I’d ever seen at one time, there were a fair number of Snowy Egrets, juvenile Little Blue Herons (also a white wading bird but with a bluish bill) and even one Great Blue Heron. The Great Blue and the Great Egrets are in the same weightclass, so to speak, and both were feeding on eels. The Snowies and the Little Blues were limited to small fish and glass shrimp. The other interesting difference, which I only fully appreciated when I was editing photos for Blue Flag White Flag, my piece on Great Egrets on this week’s Living on Earth was, the way the larger and smaller waders came in to land. The photographs I’ve posted show a Snowy and the ease with which she manages her touchdown. The single photo of a Great Egret (he’s the one with the yellow bill) show how much effort goes into breaking. His big wings are flexed all the way forward, catching as much air – and resistance – as he possibly can.