Monday, September 5, 2011

Monterey Shore Birds, Great Egret - Preening

The other day we were out sitting quietly by Monterey Bay when a Great Egret landed on a nearby rock, displacing a Western Gull that had been enjoying a restful time. We were fortunate that the Great Egret decided to preen his feathers (males and females look alike) so we got several shots of him in various poses. It was a typical summer day in Monterey. The marine layer (fog) was fairly heavy which made a nice back-drop for these shots.

Great Egrets have enjoyed Government protection for over a century and have made a remarkable recovery from being hunted to near extinction for their plumes. Additional information Wikipedia can be found here.

This first pose is  classic. We see Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets often along the Monterey Bay shore of offshore in the kelp beds that provide a significant food source. After feeding, they often come ashore to rest and preen - like this individual did for us. This rock is a favorite perch.

As he started preening first the neck feathers were smoothed.

Then the back feathers.

 And finally the wings - we particularly liked this shot.