I spent a good part of the day driving and wasn't able to stop at some really good photo ops. One was a flock of cattle egrets soaring and then gliding toward a nearby pond. Later in the day I saw a little blue heron preening itself on a grassy slope next to another pond. I had a friend with me for most of the time, but we stopped along Sarasota Bay on the Ringling Causeway to relax and look at the water (and, I was hoping, to see a few birds). I noticed that one pair of red-breasted mergansers were diving a ways out; perhaps they were the same pair I saw there last week. Just as we were about to leave for dinner, a snowy egret landed in front of us and began searching for food at the water's edge. I couldn't resist. I snapped a few pictures through my windshield, and then got halfway out of the door to get a couple more. It was an exceptionally beautiful Snowy. I kept thinking "is this a Snowy?" "Somehow it looks different." But, there were the yellow feet; has to be a Snowy.
It looked so vibrant, like a white car just coming out of a carwash. The black bill couldn't have been blacker; the white plumage couldn't have been whiter. All I kept thinking was "fresh". It just looked "fresh". Whatever that means. It seemed to be easing into breeding plumage, so I'm thinking that this was a first-winter bird.