The Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Orange, TX is not a site on the birding or wildlife trails, but the birds don't know or care. Below is the view from the photography blind at the heronry.
(Why is it called a heronry instead of a rookery? I didn't see any herons.)
I saw my first Anhinga of 2014 - a pair perched together in a tree, grooming. The volunteer stationed at the blind says they do nest here. I only saw Great Egrets and Cormorants actually building nests and incubating eggs, though.
I watched and photographed for several hours. The males brought sticks to the females, tried to place some in the nests themselves, and the females moved them to the correct spot. One of the men in the blind said, "I know which one is the female. She's just like my wife. 'That's not where the couch belongs. That is not where I told you to put the table.' "
Of course the women responded with, "If you'd put it in the right spot, we wouldn't have to move it."
He was right, though. The female was the bird moving every stick exactly where she wanted.
Every once in a while, a little cormorant would sneak up and steal a twig from the egret nest. A little boy asked, "Why don't they stop him?"
"Because they don't see him. The cormorant is swimming under the water," the adults replied.
Oh, look at those two. He's standing on her shoulders. Now they're...uh, oh...I hope the kid isn't watching...
Every once in a while, the birds would stand up and I could see the turquoise-colored eggs. I think there were two in this nest. Some had three.
It's an hour and a half away from my home, but I think I'll have to try to make it back to see the babies.
I'm linking up with Wild Bird Wednesday. There are many more beautiful birds there. Please visit to see them or link up your own.