The Reddish Egret is a “conspicuously long-legged, long-necked wader of coastal regions, more tied to salt water than any of our other herons or egrets.” (Audubon). The one seen above was spotted quietly foraging on a recent morning in a secluded pond on the Gulf coast of Florida.
I was so delighted to stumble upon the egret that I couldn’t resist following his movements for quite some time, from my vantage point along the water’s edge. His initial reaction to other wading birds was to chase them away in defense of his territory, but he later relented and decided to share his quiet little pool.According to the Florida Wildlife Commission, “The reddish egret is the rarest egret species found in North America.” This striking bird was nearly decimated by the illegal Plume Trade at the beginning of the 20th century, but it rebounded in the mid-1900’s. Even today, however, the Reddish Egret is considered threatened in Florida, primarily due to coastal development and habitat degradation. “Reddish Egret is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action.” (All About Birds). I stood watching this graceful egret for over half an hour – and I must admit to feeling rather sad when he decided to take off in search of new hunting grounds.