[Tweeters] Interesting Great Egret behavior at Blythe Lake

Rex S. Takasugi rextak at msn.com
Sat May 18 10:20:28 PDT 2013

When fly fishing in some of the eastern WA lakes I occasionally
see Great Egrets, but usually at a distance and when I see one at a lake
they usually fly away to some other lake. But, while fishing Blythe Lake
this past week (Blythe is just south of Potholes Lake) I encountered a pair
of Great Egrets that remained at the lake all day while I was there so I got
some close-up looks at them. About half the time they hunted for numerous
pumpkinseed minnows in the shallows, like a Great Blue Heron would, but the
other half of the time they were raiding the Red-wing Blackbird nests in the
shoreline reeds. Maybe they get tired of eating fish all the time? Of
course, the Red-wing Blackbirds would raise a fuss and chase the Great
Egrets. The Great Egret would usually just fly a short distance away and
sit on the ground and the Red-wing Blackbirds would stop chasing or
harassing it. Anyway, this was the first time I've seen Great Egrets behave
like this, so it was quite interesting. Unlike most times, these two Great
Egrets seemed to have little fear of me as I moved around in my one-man
pontoon boat.

I also got to see a pair of Forster's Terns diving all day for
those minnows, coming up empty-handed (or should I say empty-beaked) about
two-thirds to three-quarters of the time. It is interesting how much energy
they expend for the number of fish they catch. It was also a treat to see a
pair of American White Pelicans land on the lake. Speaking of which, a
couple of weeks ago I was fly fishing another lake which had a pair of
American White Pelicans there and they would occasionally fly low overhead
directly above me (maybe 30 feet above me) and I swear that they were
checking me out, which was kind of cool.

So, if you're going to Potholes State Park to check out those
Common Grackles, you might want to drive another few miles to Blythe Lake to
check out those Great Egrets, one of my favorite birds.

Good birding!

Rex Takasugi

Kent, WA

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