The main reason we went out to Port Royal Sunday was to see the egrets nesting. I've seen rookeries before but never as low to the ground and as close to people as this one.
We walked quietly along the boardwalk,
came around a bend,
and there they were!
Some were preening and courting, but two or three were sitting on nests already like the two hunkered down on the right.
The nests are surprisingly small and flimsy, made of a few sticks and barely bigger than the bird.
The black birds you see in the trees are cormorants, and at the water level are several coots and two wood ducks. In the trees behind I counted 13 black-crowned night herons roosting. As you can tell by their name, they rest during the day and hunt at night.
Egrets in their breeding plumage are large and gorgeous birds.
They were nearly hunted into extinction for the use of those plumes on ladies' hats in the 1800s.
Wonder how many egrets were needed to make this confection.
Thank goodness they are now protected and it's illegal to hunt them.
(Photo from Vintage Everyday)
We will be going back in about 2 1/2 weeks to see if the first eggs have hatched.