Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Views From a Kayak

A flock of Great Egrets overhead is always a good start to a day.
This flock was heading south toward Little Monkey Cay as I was getting ready to kayak north into the marshes.
The only other abundant large white egret in this region of the world is the Snowy Egret. 

The Snowy Egrets have "golden slippers" (i.e., yellow feet), so because these birds don't have golden slippers and they do have black legs and feet, they are Great Egrets.  An uncommon (in this area, anyway) large white egret is the "Great White Heron" which is the white morph of the Great Blue Heron.  They have yellow legs and feet.  
In a nutshell there are 3 large white egrets/herons in Belize.  They can be identified on the basis of leg and foot color.  Great White Herons have yellow legs and yellow feet, just like their blue morphs do.  Snowy Egrets have black legs with golden slippers and Great Egrets have black legs and black feet.  There are other, smaller, white egrets around like Cattle Egrets and juvenile Little Blue Herons, but the size difference helps discriminates between them.

This day, I kayaked by myself into the marshes and explored a shrimp farm drainage canal.
For most if its length, the  canal was fairly wide with steep sides.  

In places it became narrow with overhanging vegetation.  I'll show some ferns and other plants in another post.  I paddled all the way to a small dam at the end of the canal before I turned around and came back.
Back in the marsh, I found my old friend the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron.
It kept its eyes on me as I glided past.
I got very close to it.
I wanted to get as close as I could with out making it fly off.  I think since I was by myself and hadn't been making much noise that it was not as uneasy as it was the other day when we had 2 kayaks and some quiet conversation going on.
While in the marsh and the canal, I did not hear a single human-made sound other than what I was making.  It was so serene and almost other-worldly; one could forget the existence of civilization (almost - except where did that high-tech camera, cell phone, and even plastic kayak come from? hmmm?).  As I got back to the open sea, I began to hear the occasional boat motor and I prepared to re-enter what we call the real world.  But I think the real world was what I left behind in the marsh ...

12 comments:

  1. wilma,

    Really liked the heron, it brings back memories on a time I found a colony of them in SC. It sounds like the serenity you experienced was wonderful.

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    1. Hi Randy - I am looking forward to getting to know them a little better. They are fairly common in Belize, but their breeding sites are not known. I'll be keeping my eye out!

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  2. Wow, that heron is stunning. The only time we get to see something as stunning as this in the UK is at a zoo. Lovely photos.

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    1. Shaun - it was a real treat to see them so close.

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  3. I coudn't agree more with your sentiments, on the rare occasions I've been lucky enough to only hear the sounds of nature and no human activity that's when you feel more in the real world. Lovely shots, great treat to have all those egrets.

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    1. Alan - thanks for your comments. Indeed there is a pleasant sufficiency, as they say, of egrets present. :-)

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  4. Nice info on the birds along with some lovely images!! :)

    Regards,
    Angad Achappa
    Indian Wildlife Photography

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    1. Thanks, Angad. And congratulations on your National Geographic photo selection!

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  5. That Heron is one weird looking bird Wilma. Its head doesn't appear to match to the body.

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    1. Hi Roy - you are right; that head looks like it is from another bird. I hadn't noticed before.

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