Thursday, August 25, 2011

Egrets, herons hunker by the thousands

On the drive home from Baton Rouge to Beaumont the other day, I was watching several flocks of egrets heading west along side of me.  They seemed to slow up at the next intersection, so I decided to pull off the I-10 there to see if I could catch a picture of a passing flock..  When I  pulled to a stop, I found a fly-in taking place for thousands of birds which filled nearly every branch of the trees for a couple football fields in length.  They were mostly cattle egret, but a few anhingas, ibis and blue heron were mixing in -- apparently, unable to pass up a fait do-do.

They were still flocking in from the south and east, circling the feathery fete and then trying to push their way in for a branch -- occupied or not.  There were bird feathers floating in the air and the loud cacophony of  the flustering cluster had the hum of a Texas football game after the Hail Mary fell just beyond reach.  I surmised they were gathering in advance of northern front  bringing lightning and rain. I was in a hurry to snap as many photos as quickly as I could since the rain front and the missing sun were racing to see who could bring on the darkness first.

As I was pulling back onto the I-10, I stopped again because the service road offered another vantage point where birds were bunched on de-leafed trees.  I-10 truck drivers, zooming past, who saw me shooting pictures, blasted their horns.  It took me about three of these passing blares to realize they were trying to stir up the birds for me to get a better shot.

I snapped off a bunch of shots, but it was hard to get close to the trees and the gathering gloom smothered all the camera tricks I tried.

It was an interesting diversion from a monotonous drive.