(Burrowing Owl Update Below)
I saw this Great Egret on the North Basin, wading near the Schoolhouse Creek outfall, a day earlier. In that wide, grey setting the bird, although bigger than anything else with feathers, looked of modest size and in faded color. Then the bird hopped the fence into the Berkeley Meadow (Sylvia McLaughlin Eastshore State Park) and in the new grass and the dark ponds there, it grew in stature and it glowed. It ignored the little ducks there, and they, it. One look at its mud-encrusted bill tells of digging deep, though whether with success or failure, we can’t say. While I watched it, the bird found nothing of gastronomic interest. It did, however, take several sips of what must be a novelty for it: fresh water. When these ponds dry up, which won’t be long, this big beauty will be back in the saltwater habitat, or on dry land. Like its cousin, the Great Blue Heron, It’s equally proficient in surf or turf.
Burrowing Owl Update
The overnight showers left the Burrowing Owl in the park unscathed. Apart from possibly a little scrunching in the crown where the feathers dried unevenly — a bird can’t comb its own head very well — the owl showed no signs of water damage. Standing again in Perch B, which seems to have become its favorite, the owl remained relaxed and alert during the 15 minutes that I filmed it, around 9 a.m. In the brisk wind, it stood most of the time on two legs instead of its usual one leg only. It took no dramatic or unusual actions that would fill a highlights video reel, so a still image or two will have to suffice for today. The first image below is taken from the paved path, with water as the background. The second is taken from the Open Circle Viewpoint looking at the owl from the south.