Saturday, June 14, 2014

Great Egrets

The Great Egret rookery on Chantry Island was fascinating, and busy with these huge white birds coming and going, flapping in and then settling with folded wings.  Although we see egrets around here sometimes, I had never seen a rookery before, let alone been in the middle of one!

When you see them this close, sitting on a nest rather than fishing or flying, they really do look rather fierce.  They may have to defend these nests from the nearby Cormorants and the many gulls.

The nests were piled up one on top of another in individual trees, and some of the branches in these nests were 6-8 feet long!   There must have been about 50 nests, and 100 adult birds.

A number of the nests had visible chicks who looked like they were reaching a good size - like the two in this nest being guarded by a parent.

We were the very first boat tour of the year, so I expect the birds were feeling disturbed at this new intrusion.  This one looked definitely not pleased to have people so close.  Note the small chick in the nest.

There were hundreds of gulls too, mostly Herring Gulls.  They nest directly on the ground, scraping together a simple nest; their eggs are mottled brown so if the parent is gone, they're not easy to spot.

An adult sitting on eggs.

And a young Herring Gull chick, probably a day or less old.

And there were the Cormorants, far too many of them.  They're a serious nuisance on the Great Lakes.  They nest in trees like the egrets, albeit in smaller nests.  All in all, our trip to Chantry Island was a great success.







11 comments:

  1. Impressive shots! The egrets look particularly focused.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It sounds like a lovely trip. We saw two egrets early this spring near Port Elgin. They are rather new to our area are they not? Or have they been here all the time? I thought they were a more southern bird.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your photos of the egrets are great!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The tiny fluffy chick, and all other photos, superbly stunning. What a wonderful place to visit. Cheers,Jean

    ReplyDelete
  5. We only see a very occasional Great White Egret over in the UK, but they are slowly getting more and more frequent. We have Little Egrets in far greater numbers though 30 years ago they were hardly ever seen here. All part of nature's ever-changing plan - or maybe the result of global warming. Cormorants and Herring Gulls we have in great abundance.

    ReplyDelete
  6. They look so beautiful. Have a pure white color. They are even very careful when they are in nest too. Cute little ones!

    ReplyDelete
  7. A wonderful visit to the island and the rookeries.. The egret chicks are adorable..Wonderful series of photos! Thanks for linking up with my critter party. Happy Sunday!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wonderful post! I would LOVE to see a Heron or Egret rookery some time. Fabulous photos you took!

    ReplyDelete
  9. The egrets are beautiful. I like the gills too and their chicks are adorable.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well, I did not know cormorants nest in trees. And it always seems so odd to me to see those great wading birds standing around on branches. The blue herons too. Great pics.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Catching up today. Great photos. I didn't know the cormorants were a nuisance bird there. The egrets are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete