Sunday, May 10, 2009

08 May -- The Egrets are back

At least two dozen pairs of egrets have appeared each spring for the three years we have lived here. We are two blocks away from a large lagoon lined with trees and populated by ducks, geese and coots. These egrets, we are told, have migrated from Lake Merritt in Oakland. We must be seeing the second and third generations, because they have returned to the exact tree in which we observed hatchlings and their parents last summer.

Now they are in the settling-in, nest-building phase. We walk past the scraggly tree and hear them making soft plock-plock-plock sounds, while occasionally one lifts off and flies down the lagoon, long legs stiffly trailing, broad wings beating the air. When the flying bird comes in for a landing, there is a flutter among the birds already on the tree.

By summer the birds will begin to hatch and the egret noises will become much more strident; even the other birds seem to notice and keep their distance. The last hatchlings won't be ready to leave the nest until late August or perhaps even later.
Then the sidewalk under the tree will be scrubbed, and the human residents along the lagoon will relax.



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