Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Some Strange Wading Birds

My friend and I were driving along the road that skirts the edge of Lake Olsina the other day, when we noticed these birds in the water some way off. We stopped the car and looked again. The birds were too far off to be clear even to the zoom lens on my camera. They were, as you can see, elegant white wading birds; large but not large enough to be storks – for that matter it was the wrong time of year and on closer inspection of the photos they do not have the storks black wingmarkings. If anything the closest bird in size, shape and behaviour would be a heron.

My friend who has a house near the lake had never seen them there before. A week ago the lake had been drained in the two-yearly carp harvest and has yet to fill fully. There would seem to be no doubt then that these temporary conditions, with the lake still shallow enough to wade in and the fish thus exposed to the birds' gaze and beak, had attracted the birds. On getting home I took my AA Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe and searched its pages. There it was “largest white heron-like bird of the region, size of a grey heron.” - it was an egret. I should have known, why I had been taking close-ups of the bird at the Zoo Ohrada.

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