Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cattle Egret in Kansas

June, July, and August have been wet, but the rains won’t be enough to bring water tables back to normal, as the first half of the year was dry. Despite the recent rains in Kansas, those that keep track of precipitation say this is not enough to end the drought. Farmers in parched southwest Kansas say the unusually high amount of rain that fell in July came too late to help the winter wheat but the fields of summer corn look just fine.

Still the rain and the cooler temperatures make life in Kansas a little better. 

Now, you are driving the back roads of Kansas and you come across the unusual. Here is a herd of Cattle Egret (Bubulcus Ibis) summering at a Butler County, Kansas pond with cattle of course.

Cattle Egret with cattle in Butler County, Kansas

As I approach the pond with my camera, the egrets take flight, flying to a nearby tree.

cattle egret

Cattle Egret flying to tree

 [My daughter says I need a new telephoto lens.]

You are probably familiar with the snowy white egret that inhabits Kansas rivers. The Cattle Egret is the only white egret with both a yellow bill and yellow legs. The dark legs in many of the images comes from the muddy pond. Adult egrets have the distinctive yellow patches on the head and body. The orange stripe begins on the crown and continues down the back.

Cattle Egret in flight

Cattle Egret with orange patches

It flies in flocks for protection and feeds primarily on insects. It summers in Kansas and returns to Mexico during winter.

Cattle egret are believed to have originated in Africa and then spread to other parts of the world during the 19th century. Birding in Egypt.

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