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FullSizeRenderAn Egret is a common bird with a comical gait and a splendid posture that is unique among feathered friends.  There have been a number of times when I was comfortably enjoying the woods and a pond.  Then, the sound of fluttering wings gave notice to an Egret landing in the water.

Its long legs would slowly and carefully lift, stretch and walk into a better position.  Then it would crane its neck, adjust its posture and tilt its head.  When the sun, water reflection and shadows were just right a special event was about to take place in lightening speed.

The bird would strike.  Its beak and head would dart into the water.  Very little splashing would follow.

Like an expert in spear fishing, the Egret would emerge with a tiny minnow in its beak.  Carefully, it would lift up its head and lean back at just the right angle, manipulate its catch, and swallow it whole.  Then, it was back to fishing again.

It is a graceful bird.  When it functions it is clear that it has a flexibility which serves it well by the Creator’s design.  This is another creature of creation that makes far more sense as an intentional design rather than a happen chance  result of trial and error.

On a bike ride through the George Bush Park in Katy, Texas I chuckled at these funny birds.  Usually, I see them by themselves. One bird fishing a territory of water.  This time there was a whole convention of birds.

I was far enough away that they did not spook.  Instead, they went about bathing, chattering to each other or fishing for food.  Some had their heads up looking for danger.  Others took on a posture as if spoiling for a fight.

Maybe it was a convention.  Possibly like people this might have been a technique consortium on the best fishing techniques for the next generation of birds.  Goofy thoughts made me chuckle.

Funny birds made me chuckle out loud. Isn’t life grand when we can enjoy what we see, think lofty thoughts of theology and science, treasure the privilege to watching wildlife teach us about life?  Don’t you agree that this is quite a fascinating bird?

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

IMG_2885Dawn was crowding out the night.  The hazy horizon was becoming clearer as the rising sun was lighting up the eastern tree line.  My early morning walk started out in the dark but the skies were rapidly erupting into a new day.

A pond appeared over the rise.  It made me pause and drink the sounds of the awakening day.  Birds were chirping, frogs were croaking, fish were splashing and a family of deer caught my scent and peeled off to run away from their morning drink.

Now it was to time to breath.  After weeks and weeks of six-day schedules and long hours in each of those days, I was looking forward to a break.  Serenity is a place to recharge for the next round of frenzied activity.

My hosts smiled.  They pointed me to the bunk house where I set up a couple of days of my retreat.  One of the ranch hands commented, “Best place for some peace and quiet and a good dose of relaxation.”

I sat by the pond and watched it come awake.  The smooth water surface burst into countless puddles of feeding fry.  A turbulent splash and side of a feeding fish broke the surface.

Then, a shadow above caught my attention.  I froze to let whatever bird make its entrance to the pond feel safe. IMG_2888 A lone Egret glided to the ponds edge.

It landed in the water and immediately struck out with its bill to snag a single minnow in its bright yellow beak.  Then, this perfect fishing machine tilted its head back and flipped the fish into its mouth and swallowed it.  God designed this bird perfectly for this task.

None of the bird’s movements were fast or quick, that is, until it was ready to strike.  Then, it was acted with blazing speed.  Until then, however, it moved with slowness, cautiously, carefully, watchfully.

When it walked it moved deliberately.  Slowly it picked up one foot at a time and placed it into the water with very little disturbance.  You could see its eyes concentrating on the next lung of its long neck and needle sharp beak snapping up a morsel for its progressive meal.

Some times the Egret would crouch low, getting a better angle on the highly reflective water surface.  It looked like a panther on the prowl for a wily prey.  This was hunting perfection, a perfectly created creature in pursuit of its daily bread.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography