New Year's guest author: Johanna Brown!

Oh, hi there. Looking for Steph? Hey, I’m Joh. Let me quickly tell you two little stories that have led to this point: 1 – Steph and I met almost seven years ago on the other side of the world: Hobart, Tasmania. We were outdoors studying when I noticed Steph’s head was on a swivel, constantly looking back and forth at the slightest sound of something moving. I, the business student, would later learn it was not ADHD, it was birds, she was adeptly aware of where birds were. At. All. Times.

2 – Fast forward five years from that moment in Hobart. I had a foot cast on, you know, the ones that require you to encase them in garbage bags with duct tape when you visit damp, cliff-faced bird sanctuaries (please see Cape St. Mary’s bird blog). I had been, at that point, joking with Steph mercilessly to get a shout-out on her bird blog. And I thought, boot cast + sheep poop + thousands of smelly birds = this would be the time. No such luck folks.

With this in mind, it is with great delight that Steph has allowed me to be a guest blogger! (Put your applications in now folks, the waiting process takes a minute).

On to the main event: the Great White Egret. What better way to start the new year than to take a stroll through Marsh Trail in the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge in Florida?! Or, as I like to call it – the closest I’ll get to being in Jurassic Park.

20160504-img_0251

Being a former non-bird-aware-person (NBAP), I may have referred to this guy as a skinny pelican, or an extended white seagull ten years ago . But bird-aware-people (BAP) would refer to this guy as being similar to a Snowy Egret but without the yellow feet.

20160504-dscn3401

We found them intermixed with Great Blue Herons, Tricoloured Herons, alligators and even Roseate Spoonbills. They didn’t seem too bothered when the alligators got close.

It’s difficult to tell the difference between female and male Great White Egrets. But the juveniles don’t share the same stark white feather colouring as the adults. Their plumage can have mixed colours until they are mature.

20160504-img_0301

It is interesting to see them hunt for food. Their necks are long and slender making them pretty stealthy for all the small fish they consume. If my neck was as long as my body, I could probably sneak a lot of food without notice as well.

Now that I have exhausted Google and asking Steph, my last bird fact is that the Great White Egret can also be referred to as the Large Egret. Which makes sense when you see them all side by side. They are taller than the herons and other egrets we saw along the way.

20160504-img_0286

And my hot tip for all you NBAP out there – it is indeed possible to go birding, while drinking margaritas, if you are in Florida! If you are in Newfoundland, you have to enjoy being outside – and stopping every 4 feet to stand in absolute silence, that’s important too.

Signing off,

Steph’s - nonbirding - business-loving - much-taller - hoping-for-another-blog-writing - partner-in-crime

20160504-img_0252 20160504-img_0348 20160504-img_0260 20160504-img_0253 20160504-img_0261 20160504-img_0322 20160504-img_0262 20160504-img_0336 20160504-img_0264 20160504-dscn3380