An Icy Egret
Winter is well and truly in full swing here in South Australia. We have had some good rains to open the season for the farmers and more recently we have had plenty of cold showery days. In the last two weeks however, the frosts have come in with a vengeance. We normally get several dozen frosts every winter with temperatures around 1 to 4 degrees C.
Over the last two weeks the temperature has dropped below zero on many occasions. It is very tempting to linger awhile snuggled up in bed. A few days ago I needed to drive into town quite early in the morning. On my way home I took an alternative route past the Rocky Gully Wetlands. I wanted to check out the bird life there. These wetlands are quite close to the main road and consist of several large ponds.
The frost was still lying heavily all around, and the first rays of sunlight were sending spirals of mist from the water. Traces of fog lingered over the nearby River Murray. I saw a few Australian Pelicans on the shore of the wetlands. These were accompanied by dozens of Silver Gulls trying to warm up in the early morning sun.
Only one bird seemed brave enough (or was that silly enough?) to enter the freezing water. A solitary Little Egret was standing statue-like in one of the ponds. I’m not sure if it was frozen to the spot or just being very still trying to catch an early breakfast.
I didn’t wait around to see if it moved; I was racing home to my lovely warm fire and the morning paper.