Monday, July 11, 2011

My Town Monday: Great Egrets in San Diego, CA

I planned to regale you with another post from the lovely La Jolla, CA where Child #3 attends Spanish class for 6 1/2 hours at a posh private school and Child #4 attends a variety of half-day summer activities. The mornings find me writing in a library or a coffee shop. During the afternoons, Child #4 and I browse the shops and/or buy our lunch at a local restaurant or bring a picnic for the beach.

HOWEVER, I was in LA all weekend at a water polo tournament with Child #3, and, after I dropped off the kids, I headed back home. Yes, it was a waste of time and gas, but I wanted to be in my own house with the dog and the chameleons.

We have a lot of birds in San Diego County. I took a picture of this egret from my backyard. I belive it's a Great Egret, not the Snowy Egret. When I zoomed in on the head, I could see a blue patch between its bill and eye, a marking of the Great Egret. The Snowy Egret is yellow between the bill and eyes. It's definitely not a Cattle Egret, which are not usually found close to water. You can't tell from this photo, but a creek runs nearby. You can see Cattle, Great, Reddish and Snowy Egrets in and around San Diego County.

A lot of our Great Egrets are merely visitors, but I've seen the one in the photograph several times now, so perhaps there's a nest of sticks lined with grass high up in a eucalyptus tree, maybe even one of our trees. I've also spotted several Great Egrets at, of all places, the industrial park where I pick up crickets for the chameleons!

Great Egrets mate for life and have developed an interesting parenting technique. The parents allow their chicks (there are usually three in a brood) to KILL each other! Yes, if there's a squabble over food, the parents let the kids duke it out, often resulting in death for the weaker chick(s). This would be like me exiting the room after tossing the last package of Girl Scout samoa cookies into the fray called my children!

In addition to dealing with negligent parenting, the chicks have an alarming habit of climbing out of the nest and plunging to their death! Quite frankly, it's a miracle I see any Great Egrets at all! Few of the chicks even make it to 6-7 weeks (when they're called fledgings).

Hope you had a great Monday! Down here, 7-11 stores give out free Icees on 7-11!

Edited to add: Thanks for all the emails about how the comment button wasn't working. Hopefully, she's good to go now. :)


Reb said...

Just beautiful! You are lucky to have them so near you. As for the parenting, Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest seems to be correct.

Sarakastic said...

My favorite part of this post is the label. I would campaign for that.

Barbara Martin said...

Gorgeous birds, egrets. Natural water habitats are a boon in any populated area.