The Silent Stalker

Nothing on two legs stalks through brush more silently than the Great Egret. It suspends its weight effortlessly on one leg while the other folds, swivels, unfolds, and plants itself in slow motion, ushering in the shift in weight to complete the step. Its feet not only bear a load, they contain exquisitely delicate sensors that detect the slightest scurrying of little furry creatures under the surface. The bird can freeze in position for long minutes, better than any human mime. In so doing, it virtually disappears from the awareness of living things around it; attention goes to things that move, things that don’t move disappear from awareness. Then, like lightning out of a blue sky, it strikes.

Here, the bird had no luck while my camera followed it. That’s bird life; on land or in water, the hunter misses most of the time, like the batter in baseball. Undeterred, the bird continued stalking, while my time to observe ran out.

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