My Portal Species is an occasional series in the Outdoors Weekend section. Do you have one? Send a short story and high-quality photos for consideration to email@example.com.
I’ve seen an egret from a distance that exceeded the range of my camera for the last four years, but this year the egret took up residence nearby. He has become the focus of my attention every day.
The egret appeared April 9 and walked through the shallow water, but it quickly became the sentinel of the pond. It would perch on the same high branch every day and remain motionless. It would survey the water for small toads, and then dart to spear one. At other times, it was as still as a statue.
I walk out every morning to watch the egret. One morning, I spied it cleaning its feathers. The bird carefully paid attention to every nook and cranny, and scratched its beak with its black talons. It is so balanced that the bird can perform its daily bath on one foot!
I would describe the egret as an aloof bird. Another egret, slightly smaller and probably a female, lives only a few yards away, but the two birds do not seem to communicate. Green herons, great blue herons, mallards and geese swim in the same pond, but the egret pays no attention to them. It is a solitary figure in a pond teeming with life.
In flight, the bird is majestic with a wingspan of 4 ½ feet, launching itself rapidly upward with great force. Its goal is the opposite bank where it can again watch and wait. It sits there every morning on a suitable branch.
I declare that it is king of this pond.