Sunday, July 3, 2011


Whenever a field is being watered here birds flock down in masses to take pleasure in it!
Yesterday on our way we were lucky to watch cattle egrets (Kuhreiher) enjoying the mist over a chickpea field, arising from the water, to cool themselves. We could sneak up quite near to them and they did not bother.
The cattle egret - bubulcus ibis - אנפית בקר - is from the species of the herons. It is dressed in brilliant white feathers and has a rather stout and plump appearance, there is nothing elegant about this bird. It has a thick neck, and sitting down and resting it seems to have no neck at all. The beak is yellow, the legs short. In the breeding season the beak and legs become bright red, and the plumage will be more feathery. Their name, cattle egret,  derives from their distinct behavior of following cattle and picking ticks and other insects off their bodies, and from the ground after the cattle have loosened it with their hooves while grazing. 

This bird is quite a globe trotter, it appears in many hot and warm places of this world, tropic and subtropic. Here in Israel it is very common. It likes to breed with other species of herons, preferably near water.

Towards evening, driving home, we stopped at one of their breeding places further south, at the estuary of the Dalia river into the sea, near the Carmel beach. There is an eucalyptus grove at the edge of the water, maybe twenty or so trees. We saw hundreds of nests in them, and the egrets and other herons busily taking off and landing, coming and going. We think those black looking ones are Glossy Ibis (?מגלן מצוי), beautiful dark grey-brown-blue birds with long skinny legs, and a long down-curved beak. Their presence is more fine and graceful, a bit superior to the egrets. They are home in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

I loved seeing those birds so close, I stood very still for a long time near the trees their leaves wafting in the breeze, telling our dog Dafi to sit quiet and not to move, and enjoying the beautiful sight of the birds, with the sun setting over the ocean behind us.

Photographs by Uri Eshkar.


glazedOver Pottery said...


Maybe they seem neck-less, plump and inelegant, but they make fantastic photo models! Here on Long Island, we get to see one occasional egret from time to time, *IF* we're lucky. Such an amount, all congregated together, is unheard of. What a charmed few moments you had.

Terri said...

Thank you for the beautiful pictures and the ones you painted with your words, too. Magical!

Hilde said...

I always enjoy watching birds, love the photos, Yael! Thanks for sharing :)
I'm sure you had a great moment!

The trip to London was very nice, and we are back home again, trying to catch up with the garden and the new greenhouse.

Have a good new week :)

Pesky Cat Designs said...

Fantastic photos! Those Egrets are like out of a Hitchcock film. Glad they were enjoying themselves and not plotting a devious deed. LOL

We have this bird here in Florida as well. The other day one landed in our backyard and startled me since I was busy sewing and just saw a large white object suddenly appear to the corner of my eye.

Smilla said...

Liebe Yael
das sind ja traumhafte Aufnahmen... Kompliment an deinen Mann : ) Die Wissen offensichtlich was Wellness ist! Ich nehem an, dass sie in fahrtrichtung schauen.
Wir waren am Samstag mit dem Kanu auf dem Allier(Fluss) und wurden auf weiter Strecke von zwei Egrets begleitet!
Habe auch ganz viele Fotos machen können und war nach unserer Tour ganz beschwingt.... Die Vogelwelt habe ich erst seit wir hier in Frankreich sind so richtig entdeckt!
Herzliche Grüsse und bis bälder bisous Brigitte

2 B's World said...

Das sind tolle Aufnahmen.
Da könnte man wohl stundenlang beobachten und innehalten. Schön, wenn man die Vogelwelt so nah erleben kann.

Liebe Grüße von Birgit

rachel awes said...

what a phenomena!!
razzle dazzle my heart!

Dawn of LaTouchables said...

I do love the egret--in Florida they are extemely elegant and white as bright sunlight on porcelain!

veroque said...


wanda miller said...

oh my GOODNESS GRACIOUS...yael, this is stunning! you have captured something of a pattern here that is beyond words! and then to have shared this with your grandchildren is the cherry on top along with thanks for sharing with us! XO

wanda miller said...

thank YOU PRETTY BIRD! and you as well! xo