This year’s Great Egret Excursion was held on the evening of September 7. Thirty people met at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge at the Cayuga Pool Overlook for this exciting program. The evening turned out to be great indeed! Great Egrets have been congregating in large numbers somewhere in the “Alabama Swamps” complex for quite a few years now.
As the leader of this excursion, figuring out where the egrets choose to roost can be challenging for me. After several good inside tips from Department of Environmental Conservation and Iroquois staff, and three evenings of sleuthing at previous roost sites, I had a pretty good feeling that the field trip would be a big hit with the public. First, at Cayuga Pool, we had good looks at foraging Great Egrets, families of Common Gallinules, Pied-billed Grebes and a bonus — a Merlin flyover!
After a lively introductory talk all about Great Egrets, the group carpooled to the nearby Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area, where we were able to observe 77 Great Egrets coming to roost! These beautiful, elegant birds have increased their numbers dramatically in the great lakes region in recent years. It is always a thrill to see the egrets in flight and hear them interacting with their odd-sounding croaks as they settle for the evening in a wellprotected roost spot. As the field trip leader, hearing the public express its appreciation for this habitat and a bird that was once almost extirpated is the greatest reward.
Please consider joining us next September for this unique experience.