Today, a typical day of mixed sun and clouds, an atypical bird arrived at the pond. Actually, I don’t know when it arrived, but it started up, huge and white, as I checked on the pond just after midday, and flew off downhill with big wing flaps. The Great Egret (Ardea alba) is a spectacular but, fortunately, also common bird. It is the symbol of the National Audubon Society in the United States. Egrets and herons, however, are decidedly uncommon here in San Antonio, and this was my first sighting here in the village. Although we occasionally see the Green Heron, I was amazed to see this large species at our garden pond, located as we are in the middle of the village. We did have a three-day visit from a Great Blue Heron a few months back, so perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised.
The nearest previous sightings of the Great Egret have been at the La Ceiba ponds low down (perhaps 800 m above sea level) below San Rafael, and also higher up at La Pastora (1630 m approx.); our elevation is also high for this species (1288 m).
Photograph, taken in Costa Rica, courtesy of Karel Straatman: