Sunday, May 7, 2017

New Egypt 5/7--Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret
On one of our trips yesterday around the dikes at Brig, we were searching for a reported Cattle Egret. It would be a good bird for our count; they're not that easy to find in New Jersey except down in Salem County. They occasionally appear at Brig, so it wasn't absolutely out of the question, but it didn't take long for us to figure out that the report was bogus. Still, it got me to thinking of my home county, Ocean, and I remarked to Pete that I always thought it was odd that Cattle Egrets have never shown up in the cattle fields (you can hardly call those muddy acres "pastures") of New Egypt, where so many interesting birds have been spotted.

Sure enough, when I got up, late, this morning and looked at my email, there was a report of a Cattle Egret in those fields from yesterday. I wasn't really planning on doing any birding today after our marathon of yesterday, but this funny egret was too good to pass up and the fields are only about 20 minutes away. When I saw another report that it was still there, I jumped in the car. The bird was right there, not difficult to see, though a tad distant for any really good photos. It is in breeding plumage, with lots of rusty orange on it head and back. Cattle Egrets make their living following cattle (or farm machinery) eating the bugs that are kicked up. The only problem for this bird is that those bulls and cows don't move around a lot. Maybe that's why Cattle Egrets haven't gravitated to there before.

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