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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Feeding Frenzy at Ding Darling

[Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel Island. Dec 2013]

As would be appropriate for this time of year, there was a veritable feeding frenzy at Ding Darling NWR over the long Thanksgiving weekend; species observed included:
  1. Snowy Egret
  2. Yellow-crowned Night Heron
  3. Great Egret
  4. Tri-colored Heron
  5. American White Pelican

As can be seen from the above, low-tide conditions concentrated fish into small tidal pools thereby helping ignite a pandemonium of herons flying, feeding, and fussing.

Snowy Egrets were especially acrobatic -- skimming small fish while in the air.

At any given moment, egrets were constantly flying, landing or spearing fish.

The yellow feet of the Snowy merely touched the surface as it made expert forays over the water; gleaning fish in the process.

In contrast to the frantic antics of the egrets, the Yellow-crowned Night Heron was supremely composed.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Perhaps the most entertaining (and flashy!) were the Snowy Egrets:

Snow Egret attracting fish at Ding Darling

Other herons that joined in included:

Tri-colored Heron

... and Great Egret.

More stoic were the flock of American Pelicans who were performing their morning preening ablutions with a meditative calmness.

In celebrating Thanksgiving, surely we must be grateful that the bounty of this land remains undiminished; and, can be enjoyed in full measure by all its creatures in the peaceful harmony of respectful coexistence.

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