Snowy Magic at Red River Creek

It was a warm June morning and I was out early at Red River Creek.

In search of baby Black Ducks.

Passing by our familiar childhood herring run, something caught my eye.

Through the marsh reeds and trees I spotted a Snowy Egret, perched on a low branch close to the river.

I knew that Snowies roosted at night, but this was the first time I’d seen one just rolling out of its lofty bed among the treetops.

Best of all, the angle of the morning sun seemed to be in my favor, giving me a bit of time to watch undetected.

It got even better when the Snowy flew to a second perch, directly over the creek.

Oh yes, a much better spot to look for something moving in the shallow water below!

And the perfect chance for me to reposition, to get deeper into the shadows to observe.

Just then, the Snowy began to preen.

Such a methodical process it was; no doubt a morning ritual.

And through my lens I could see tiny white feathers, freshly pulled, being released from the Snowy’s bill….

Lifted by a whisper of a sea breeze…

And then floated away without a sound, out over the marsh and out of sight.

Another breeze came up and had some more fun, setting the Snowy’s crown feathers all aglow as he peered intently into the watery shadows of a nearby creek.

What a sight he was, this stunningly beautiful bird.

Doing what Snowies probably do every morning – taking a bath, getting ready for some breakfast.

Yet this morning, this Snowy gave me such a gift.

One I’ll never forget.

Years ago I made the decision as a milliner to design silk organza “feathers” to trim my hats with, in place of the real ones.

Leaving those soft, glorious feathers right where they belong.

On the breeze.

And with the birds.   ❤

Related post, Hats and Horses blog, “For the Birds”


Something to Crow About

These young crows seemed as excited as I was this morning, waiting for the sun to rise.

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Jockeying for position, each youngster was looking for the very best seat.

As always, the sun put on quite the show for all who were in attendance.

You might even say, it gave us all something to crow about!



Starstruck – Glossy Ibis Sighting in Chatham

I had my first sighting yesterday of a glorious new bird that has now utterly captured my imagination.

I was up on what I call “Osprey Hill” photographing fledgling ospreys as they practiced their aerial maneuvers near one of the nests.

Just as I was leaving the Hill I spotted a nice group of Snowies and Great Egrets out in the tidal pools below, fishing.

But there was something different about this group – a much darker wading bird was among them!

Later on I discovered that I had just seen my very first Glossy Ibis!

But it was about to get so much better.

I also came upon a lovely pair of them when I was heading back to my car at Forest Beach marsh.

Glossy Ibises are a large bird, measuring anywhere from 19-26 inches with distinctive football-shaped bodies and long, curved olive-brown bills.

Their scientific name, Plegadis falcinellus, is derived from the Ancient Green and Latin words meaning “sickle”, which is certainly easy to understand why!

And although they appear black in the distance or in shadows, their bodies are actually a deep chestnut color with iridescent green-purple-metallic wings and tail, reddish-brown neck, brown legs and feet.

These were backlit when I saw them, but I could see flashes of color as I clicked away madly on my camera.

Using their long curved bills which are perfectly suited to the task, they probe the muddy, shallow waters of salt marshes to find crayfish, snails, small fish, insects and frogs.

Those on Atlantic Coast live mainly in Florida and Louisiana, however I’ve learned that they sometimes breed here on Monomoy Island and are occasional visitors in spring and late summer in our mainland salt marshes as well.

I couldn’t help but notice that one of our resident crows was none too happy to pose with these statuesque dark birds.

How I do love our little rascal photo bombers, always mugging for the camera!  😉

I sure hope I get another chance to visit with these birds before they fly south for the winter months.

But one thing’s for certain.

There’s but one word to describe how I feel right now, and that is SWOON…

Growing Up, Least Tern

One of THE most fascinating things about watching birds during the breeding season… is to see the coloring and feathering of the chicks as they become more and more like their parents.

Like with our new crop of Least Tern chicks…

Watching the feathers slowly morph from “baby” to “adult” has been fascinating, an artist’s dream in color and texture.

And there’s a palpable electricity in the air, as the adults and chicks soar through the air together…

With lessons being learned about just how you dip and dive for your own dinner now!  😉

Sometimes I think even the chicks themselves sense that something new and momentous is happening in their lives, too.

Myohmy, these tern chicklets sure are growing up FAST!!