Herons still stand over nests at the rookery off Amnicola Highway. One, probably male, flew in and landed on a brach where another stood above the nest. He dropped a stick on the nest and then disgorged a silvery fish from his crop. The other immediately ate the fish. Then they emitted the strange grunting sound I associate with nesting herons.
Another pair stood above their nest. Each touched its beak to its partner’s shoulder. One turned away and squatted over the nest so they both faced the same direction. The other fluffed out his plumes and crest, but did not mount. No doubt, he will in the future and their species will continue in the rookery.
Gives mate silver fish
Fluffs out plumes, erects his crest
Soon she sits on eggs
At Amnicola Marsh, a lone Snow Goose swam among the Canada Geese. The white feathers with black wing tips set this species off from the domestic geese, as does its brown beak which unlike the pink beak of a Ross’s Goose or the orange beak of a domestic goose.
The fall I worked at Assateague Island, I drove to Prime Hook in Delaware to find the thousands on migration. The inlet looked as though someone had split a giant down pillow and let the feathers fall to earth. A week later I drove to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and saw only a few. I had either missed the flight, or it had not come yet.
Those Snow Geese were on the Eastern Flyway, but I imagine the one that delighted my eyes this day in Chattanooga was off Course from the Mississippi flyway.
White with black wing tips
Graceful swimmer among geese
Off course from Memphis