I saw a pair of Great Egrets in our neighborhood two days ago, my first sighting of that species for the year. They were fishing in the marshy end of a small lake. And they're understandably good at it. They were dressed in breeding-season finery, the rich pinkish tones on the neck as bright as neon. The birds also sport long tail plumes at this time of year, the major reason they and other plume-bearing waders were hunted to near extinction 100 years ago. The plumes were wanted to decorate ladies' hats. It was ladies themselves who began a very successful campaign to protect these birds. The Audubon Society was born of this campaign.