A Great Egret

I could watch and marvel at a great egret all day long

Any day that offers an encounter with a great egret is a great day in my book.

As inarguably beautiful in their own right as egrets inarguably are, I most love to watch them do what they do. It’s not just the pieces of the bird — elongated beak, neck and legs, in particular — but the process by which they use those pieces — all designed perfectly in combination to hunt — that utterly fascinates me.

Remember the kid in school with too-long legs for his body? And how clumsy he was in gym class? Not so the egret, so in control of every anatomical feature that from a frozen white shadow its whip-like neck can erupt instantly, perfect binocular vision guiding the chisel-sharp beak with surgical precision so fast that not until it’s sliding headlong down that long hungry gullet does its prey even begin to suspect it’s in danger. And not just fish and frogs, but insects, reptiles and even fat, furry voles are regularly featured among its menu options. Tragic for all of them, sure … but I swear, I could watch and marvel at an egret all day long.

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