Saturday, January 17, 2015

Great White Waterbird Hunter

My Coonhound In Our Back Yard

Nose to the air, my coonhound sniffed as if saying, "Who goes there?" The hunt was on!


The dog quickly followed the lead of his nose to the ground, I following right behind him to see what I might see from allowing him to lead me around. Rarely was I disappointed when following after the lead of a dog and today would prove no exception.

We rounded the corner a house away from ours, my dog Valentino running faster and faster while pulling me on his leash with much of his might. Suddenly he came to a stop, on point, quiet as a mouse.

Now here we were, less than a block from our house. Following the focus of my dog, I finally saw with my eyes what my four-legged hunter had sensed from our back yard--a great white waterbird.

Stop Sign at Hwy 98 and Lanark Beach

The Great Egret

There in a blaze of Florida sunshine, strutting its stuff along the side of the road, was the Great Egret. Ironically, my dog and I were held captive near the stop sign in front of us as we watched the egret waltz its way to its destination. This bird was hunting too.

Great Egret
We followed the waterbird with our gaze, from about thirty feet away, to the water ditch alongside the roadway. There it stood still in the gully, seemingly forever, scanning the water for unsuspecting prey. Perhaps he might find himself a frog or a fish upon which to dine.

Unfortunately, a biker passing by revved his motorcycle engine at the sight, scaring the bird into flight. Silently I cursed him for interrupting the Great Egret in its hunt for food and our amazing moments with one of Florida's fabulous waterbirds.

Thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for the identification of Florida birds, by its yellow bill and long black legs, I was able to confirm this is the Great Egret. However, I am sure a good book about Florida's waterbirds would come in handy now that I live along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle.

I must wonder, too, if my redtick coonhound, Valentino, might appreciate an egret dog toy to hunt in the house, and in all probability, destroy.


   



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