WILDLIFE WEDNESDAY: GREAT EGRETS & SNOWY EGRETS

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great_egret

Surely you will recognize the Great White Egret as the “face” of Saltwater Farm Vineyard. Our logo, which prominently features the beautiful bird below a silver arc, was inspired by a photograph taken by a friend of owners, Michael and Merrily. It captured an egret taking flight in front of the arc shaped aluminum roof of the airplane hanger (now our tasting room and event space).

On any given day at Saltwater Farm, egrets can be seen wading in the shallows of the salt marsh looking for their next meal and gracefully gliding above the vineyard and out over Little Narragansett Bay.

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Distinguishable by their larger size, yellow beak, and black feet, Great Egrets share their home at the Vineyard with the smaller, Snowy Egrets which have black beaks and bright yellow feet.

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What a treat it was for our friend Ray U. to send over these stunning pictures of egrets, especially the photos of Snowy Egrets mating nearby. Note the mating plumage prominently displayed by the male.

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 Egret: Did you know?

Both Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets were hunted heavily, almost to extinction, in North America in the late 19th century for their plumes which were used to decorate hats.

Subsequently, the Great Egret became the symbol of The National Audubon Society which was established in the late 19th century to protect birds from feather hunters.

Weighing on average between 2 and 3 pounds, Great Egrets can stand over 3 feet tall and have a wingspan of 4 feet or more. The smaller, Snowy Egret, stands 2 feet with a wing span around 3 feet.

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In 2010, acclaimed 20th century Saint Lucian poet and Noble Prize winner Derek Walcott published White Egrets. Below is an excerpt from the title poem that is truly reminiscent of the egret’s presence at Saltwater Farm.

The perpetual ideal is astonishment.
The cool green lawn,the quiet trees, the forest
on the hill there, then, the white gasp of an egret sent
sailing into the frame then teetering to rest
with its gawky stride, erect, an egret-emblem!

White Egrets (57-61)

Cheers to our feathered friends and their home at SFV!
JM

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