Coming in to roost

There is a Great Egret nightly roosting spot on a lake down the street from me that doesn’t seem to attract any visitors but me.  Each evening right at sunset, a stream of large, white egrets fly in to roost in one particular set of oak trees bordering the lake.

great white egret-flock

The egrets circle the roost a couple of times before gliding into roost in the tops of the trees. With the early evening sun behind me, their white shapes stand out against the sky.

great white egret-flock

Flying into the sun as they circle the lake, the white shapes turn to dark ones.

great white egret

Some fly right over my head as they glide in for a landing.

great white egret-roost

Birds land in one spot but may scramble around for a few minutes trying to find just the perfect spot to spend the night.  There are a lot of croaking vocalizations among the crew as they settle down.

great white egret-roost

Sometimes there are disagreements about whose spot it is.  Erect neck feathers indicate the state of agitation in these two birds, as they threaten each other with those sharp beaks.

great white egret-

It’s rare to find an egret roosting in the open, free of branches and leaves.

great white egret-

Even rarer to get a shot of one framed by the last remnants of the sunset.

With their breeding season completed, these birds will probably stick around for a few more weeks, fattening up on the local frogs and fish in nearby lakes, before heading south for the winter.  When I see flocks of egrets like this flying around, I realize the number of summer days is quickly coming to an end…

9 thoughts on “Coming in to roost

  1. How fortunate you are to live so near a place that affords you such a beautiful spectacle! If I lived nearby, I would certainly be standing there with you :). Your photo’s are wonderful and really show the beauty of this magnificent bird – both in flight and at rest. Thank you for sharing.

    • Same here, Mike. This only occurs for a couple of weeks at the end of the breeding season, so I count myself lucky if I am in the right place at the right time!

    • This flocking behavior at this roost only occurs for a couple of weeks at the end of the breeding season. I noticed that I posted a similar set of sunset photos on the blog at this same roost almost exactly one year ago (July 27, 2014).

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