After a long recess in the reeds, our Snowy Egret friends are back…
And Stanley here is dancing atop the water with elegant zest.
Stanley’s gorgeous golden feet serve a fascinating purpose—the most dazzling hunting and fishing tool I have ever observed in a wading bird.
When Stanley walks and scampers, his toes stir up insects and small crustaceans, which he then harvests, spear-fishing with his beak.
But the magic act I love most occurs when he flies low and drags his golden toes just a tad below the mirror-like marsh waters.
In my photographs, he almost could be an Olympic figure skater. But secretly, his gold toes are flushing out frogs, fish and tiny crustaceans galore. For some prey, they’re a tempting lure — frightening others out of hiding. They surface, he feasts!
He repeats until full, then flies off to rest and digest in some safe hiding place.
Many times, I’ve observed a Snowy flying back and forth, flushing his prey on one sweep, then returning to gobble them up. It’s hypnotic and beautiful, watching his wedding-dress wings spread, as those golden slippers waltz on the marsh.
Every time I observe it, I marvel at Stanley the magical marsh-dancing Egret.