This week little egrets have been visiting Lake Joondalup – the first time I’ve seen them there. I’ve seen one or two in the distance since I’ve been in Oz, but this was the first time I’ve seen them fairly close to.
Maybe they’re here because so many lakes have now dried up after the long summer. I counted 15 great egrets too. So, how do you tell the difference between them? Obviously the ‘great’ is bigger than the ‘little’, but that’s not much use if they aren’t standing conveniently together. The best way is the beak colour. The great egret has a yellow beak, the little egret has a beak which is mainly black with a bit of yellow at the top where it meets the eyes.
They have an interesting fishing technique. Their ‘Great’ cousins stand dead still, watching the water, then dive their heads in when they see their food. The lillte egrets do a very graceful ‘dance’ over the water. little hops and flaps, and tapping the water surface with their feet.
Unfortunately, they don’t do a very good job of posing. Firstly, they stand on the side of the lake which guarantees that the sun is behind them, so nearly all photos are in silhouette. Secondly, they like to wade to the areas which are hidden from the path by trees. I know they’re there, but can’t get to them. This picture was taken from quite a distance from the wooden walkway, but there was no way of getting nearer – very frustrating.