My first inkling of trouble was when I glanced out to see the heron perched on the hillside, and the egret eyeing him from across the canal.
“This will be interesting,” I called to Ric. “The heron is very territorial.”
I had seen him chase off other birds, his quick stabbing beak a formidable weapon. The egret did not appear to be daunted, and instead strolled across the waterway, and in measured moves – neither of them losing eye contact – he backed up onto the hill, settling just below the Great Blue.
“Oh, I want to get my camera out there, but the egret will just fly away.”
I couldn’t contain myself though, and sure enough, seeing my approach, the egret flew. But the game was not over. Buddy soon joined his rival at the other end of the canal. I grabbed my walker and arrived just in time to see the standoff, each bird proudly erect, guarding their prospective sides of the canal.
Trying to stay out of sight, I set myself behind the thick trunk of a palm. The action was taking place on the other side.
The heron lunged and caught a fish, and before my camera could reset there was a raucous – the egret had moved in for the steal. Startled the heron must have dropped his catch as in my next shot, it is the egret grasping the fallen prize from the shallow waters, while the heron stands by in disbelief.
One last glance at me, the egret spread its wings and ascended, but either the fish was too large or his grasp too awkward, and dinner was left behind.
Buddy regained his territory and his meal and order was restored on the canal for another day.