The Daily Bucket–The West Side Gang moves in.

For 20 years, I’ve tracked the movements of herons and egrets where I’ve worked and walked.  I’d been working at a golf course in Banks Oregon, 20 miles west of Portland.  We had a year-round heron, and every autumn, an egret visited and fished for a few days, angering the golf course’s resident heron.

Then I noticed that (or another) egret started visiting 10 miles farther east, at a stormwater pond, again during early winter, and then vanishing.

This spring an egret showed up out of season about two miles farther east, at Bethany Lake.   It’s back, a little early to be migrating — again.

This local  heron is also shadowing or leapfrogging the egret, moving its fishing spots to the east, possible in response.  “Icepick” Willie the Heron will not give up this prime fishing territory to the West Side Egret Mob!

The local Red Winged Blackbirds are attacking both sides, exploiting their advantage in numbers and agility.  Fall daylight mimics Spring daylight, tricking the Blackbirds into thinking it’s nesting time, and time to attack all other birds again.  But they aren’t as frantic as in the Springtime, as if they know there’s nothing at stake, but they are going through the motions.

The Egrets evade the Black Birds by hiding high up in the big trees.

The heron is more reluctant to give up a prime fishing spot.  He’ll duck the blackbirds.

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From 20 feet up, Whitey can evade the Blackbirds and still watch for fish.

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Here’s one way for the heron to keep the Blackbirds from pecking on its head.

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The attacking blackbird is a blur, top center.

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The 1,2,3 mark the egret’s progress from west (left) to east.  The H1 and H2 show the heron shadowing the egret. The beaver dam at H2  harbors large dumb fish and too many nutrias.

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