Sunday's for the Birds: Today's Birds are the Waders

I often wondered what it was about wading birds that fascinated me more than any other group. They stand so still in the water for along periods of time: dozing, watching, doing what appears to be "nothing." Then while preparing this blog it finally dawned on me. On that very first vacation to the beach in Galveston, Texas, I clearly remember the joy I felt wading into the surf up to my calves. The fluid sand between my toes; the warm water lapping around my legs; the tiny fish tickling my ankles as they swarmed by. Even at the age of five, I knew that life didn’t get any better. I must have been a wader in my past life.
little blue heron (Florida)

         I'm sure the wading birds think differently about the ankle-deep water they spend so much time in. Their thoughts, first and foremost, are of food, food, and more food. I have to admit, whenever I'm strolling along the beach, the pungent aroma of brine, sparks my appetite, too. I imagine shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, linguini with clam sauce, and oyster nachos. Not as healthy as a fresh uncooked blue crab plucked straight from the water, but just as enjoyable.
American bittern (Florida)
           Once I began birding my first goal was to add all the wading birds in North America to my life list. Here's what I've added so far: American bittern, great blue heron, white heron (great blue morph), reddish egret, great egret, snowy egret, cattle egret, little blue heron, tricolor heron, green heron, black-crowned night-heron, yellow-crowned night-heron, glossy ibis, white-faced ibis, white ibis, roseate spoonbill, wood stork, greater flamingo (seen in Africa), sandhill cranes, and my all-time favorite the whooping crane. If anyone knows where to find the lesser bittern, little egret, limpkin, and scarlet ibis, let me know. I'm still on their trail.