When high ebb coincides with sunrise and sunset, a living work of art calls me to the river. Thousands of waterbirds punctuate certain areas of the mangroves, and to my good fortune, they roost in my little slice of heaven! During nesting season (now!) their numbers swell, and the cacophony builds as the sun slinks toward the horizon. With paddle in one hand and camera in the other, I shove the kayak into the water and join them.
Cattle Egrets and snowy egrets share the western side of the river, while frigates, pelicans and cormorants claim the taller mangoves on the other. Yellow-crowned night herons nest in the tall mangroves nearest my house and also mingle with the egrets. The black-crowned night herons, in their formal black and white attire, dot the shoreline at low tide but recede into the shadows when the water is high.
The ibis and great egrets get my vote for most elusive. My favorites are the temperamental snowy egrets that fluff their plumage at the slightest irritation! Although the waterbirds are skittish when approached on land, they seem overly trusting when a canoe or kayak approaches.