an egret story

egreta visitor in my back yard

This is the lawn behind my house.  And this is the visitor we’ve had the past couple days.  And that mound of dirt he’s (or she’s) standing upon is one of about 50 such piles that cover our “lawn” – previous openings to the sun shine for one very industrious and warmth loving gopher living in a vast network of tunnels under our property.

The avian visitor appeared during lunchtime a couple days ago and sent Bob and I scrambling for our cameras.  He was rocking forward and back at alarming angles.  (We guessed that if he had rocked side to side he would surely have fallen over because he is so stick thin on that dimension.)  While Bob was gone I caught sight of the bird’s prey as he suddenly whisked an unsuspecting lizard into his beak and quickly devoured it in a few gulps.   I knew he wouldn’t stick around for me to get my sketchbook so I didn’t even try.  There’s really not much to sketch with egrets.  I mean when they stretch up straight and turn just so, they almost disappear from sight!  But just look at that wonderfully intense eye. . .

Later I saw a shadow fly over my studio and then the chickens commenced to squawking so that I was certain one of them had been carried off.  And sure enough, Rajani, one of the new chicks was missing.  Oh woe is me! I thought, immediately blaming a hungry egret for the crime.  In a few moments however I heard a weak cheeping coming from deep inside the rosemary bush.

So all is well and we now appear to have a regular visitor, who hopefully will develop an appetite for gophers.



  1. So pleased to see an egret here, Susan! I have spent hours and hours watching at egrets in many places from Europe. I find them so charming! I had once started a bird sketching book, and if I remember well, i had some egrets in it. if I can find this book back, i will post the egrets in my blog…


    1. I would love to see them. I go way back with egrets too. Some of my first “successful” watercolor paintings were of egrets. All that negative white space in graceful lines. They’re made for it!


  2. Lovely photo, Susan! As soon as i saw the mounds of earth, before I even read your text, I started to imagine the wonderful dancing gopher in the Caddyshack movie. Corey and I could sit and watch it a hundred times, and fall over laughing everytime we watched it! Perhaps the egret was looking for a dancing partner….. 🙂


    1. . . .and instead found a lizard. I don’t know why our cat doesn’t help with the gopher problem. He is otherwise a very great hunter. You know whenever we plant anything in our garden we have to encase it is a wire basket or it will disappear down one of those tunnels.


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