Tag Archives: Egrets

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Ten sheep, and ten cattle egrets, in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘A Numbers Game.’ See more responses here. I put all my fingers and thumbs to work for my response, starting with ten Sheep in formation (and ten Cattle Egrets, too, as a bonus).

Next we have nine Spinner Dolphins playing, eight Wild Pigs foraging, seven Cattle Egrets heading to work.

Then there’s six Dung Beetles at work, five Black Triggerfish feeling blue, four Japanese White-eyes bathing.

And finally, three Horses watching, two Hawaiian Monk Seals resting, and one Pueo anticipating zero and lifting off.

Goats and egret

A cattle egret and two goats in Hawaii
A cattle egret and a goat in Hawaii

This Cattle Egret appeared to have difficulty choosing which of several goats it should follow, in order to snap up bugs disturbed by their grazing. Or perhaps something else was going on. I could see its throat rippling, so it might have been calling, though I couldn’t hear any sound from where I was.

It’s bright, it’s white, it’s Sunday Stills

Surf rushes ashore at Upolu, Hawaii
A cattle egret waits in a fountain
The turbines of Hawi wind farm with Mauna Kea in the background

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘White.’ See more responses here.

In the top photo, frothy surf barrels ashore at Upolu in North Kohala. Below that, a cattle egret surveys the scene in the middle of a water fountain. The third photo shows turbines at Hawi Wind Farm against a backdrop of snowy Mauna Kea. And the bottom photo features a bee collecting on a Maiapilo flower.

A bee forages on a Maiapilo flower

Things that are white

A catamaran sails off the coast of the Big Island, Hawaii
A cattle egret standing in a fountain

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Things that are white.’ See more responses here.

The top photo features a white catamaran with white sails, cruising on a white-capped ocean. The second photo is a cattle egret in a water fountain. The third photo shows a thick layer of white clouds between the Big Island and Maui, as seen from Mauna Kea.

Clouds fill the sky between Mauna Kea and Maui

Lawn mower egret

Cattle egrets will follow anything that stirs up insects and other small creatures in the grass. Typically, they hang out with cattle, horses and sheep, but they’ll also flock to the scene when anyone fires up a lawn mower. They trot along behind the mower, gleaning tasty tidbits from among the grass clippings.

It’s not all easy pickings though. As in the top photo, they have to be alert for when the mower swings around and roars back toward them.

Cattle and egrets

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Odd Couples.’ See more responses here.

It’s common to see cattle egrets in the company of cattle and yet they still make an odd pairing – the bulky, stolid cow or bull and the slender, flighty cattle egret. The benefits for the cattle egret are clear. They catch insects and other prey disturbed by the grazing cattle (or horse, sheep, goat, etc.). But they also remove flies and ticks from the cattle themselves, which also benefits the cattle.

The cattle also don’t seem to mind being used as a perch. I imagine the egret above giving directions: ‘take a left up ahead buddy.’ The one in the middle is switching allegiances. Below, gotta find someplace with a view when in the tall grasses.

When cattle egrets have no cattle

Today we tackle the thorny question of what cattle egrets do when there are no cattle (or horses, or sheep, or goats, or lawn mowers) around. They accompany these various animals and machines to feast on insects and small animals disturbed by the grazing.

When they don’t have others to stir up these things, they do it themselves. This group of cattle egrets methodically combed a scrubby field, eating as they went. As they moved across the field, birds from the back would fly forward and take up their position at the front. By the time a line of birds ended up at the back of the bunch, they’d probably scoured their section of field of easy pickings, so they leapfrogged to the front again.

When they reached the fence at the end of the field, they moved higher on the hill and began the whole process again. Finally, they reached the top of the hill and, after a while took off, first in ones and twos, and then in greater numbers until they had all gone.

Cattle egrets on a gate

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Gate.’ (See more offerings here.) I remembered these two cattle egrets, on a gate separating two cattle pastures. I like how the birds seem to be engaged, like a couple of neighbors talking over the garden fence, or in this case, on the fence.

Also, I like the feet of the bird perched on the gate. Makes me feel like my feet are positively dainty!