Weekly Photo Challenge: Enveloped
“True love is boundless like the ocean and…envelops the whole world.”
I suppose our friends at WordPress are doing their best to throw us some curveballs these days, and this week’s “enveloped” is no exception. According to the dictionary, one definition of the word is to be “completely surrounded”. Happily, this week I spent time with some fledgling egrets who were completely surrounded by their leafy nest and more importantly by their parents’ loving care. I thought they just might fit the bill for this week’s challenge and also illustrate my opening Gandhi quote at the same time😊.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.
I was surprised to learn that Great Egrets such as these mate for life, and that their chicks take 6 to 7 weeks before they can leave the nest – growing almost to full size in that time. The nest above houses 3 egret chicks – imaging how hard the parents will have to work to keep them fed, and how crowded that nest will become before the chicks depart!
“We are . . . enveloped in a cloud of changing and endlessly shifting images.”
Life can be perilous for the young chicks. Unlike most birds, egret parents incubate their eggs as soon as the first one is laid. The chicks often hatch at different times and it is not unusual for the strongest to kill the weakest. Because the nest can become quite crowded and feeding several chicks at once is very challenging, the parents allow nature to take its course. There is also a serious danger that the chicks will begin to attempt flight before their wings are strong enough. They often fall from the nest and become victims of nearby predators such as the alligators who live in the pond below these particular nests.
“The purity men love is like the mists that envelop the earth, and not like the azure ether beyond.”
Henry David Thoreau
Egrets are beautiful birds, especially during breeding season. The photo above shows both the long white tail feathers and the bright green eye markings that they display to attract their mates. Below, an egret exhibits another courting behavior – stretching of the characteristic long white neck.
The wind envelops you with a certain purpose in mind, and it rocks you.
Egrets nest in colonies and the area I visited this week had at least a dozen nests, each in a different stage of development. While the chicks in the nests of my opening photos were quite active, the one below held younger, sleepier chicks. The nests are high enough and deep enough within the trees to be out of reach of predators (and challenging for photographers😀). They are usually near a pond or wetlands, making it easier for the parents to capture the fish they feed on and regurgitate for their young.
“The singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone’s very heart.”
A big thank you to my friend Diane, who let me know the chicks had hatched and gave me some insight into their development. Should you care to see some other examples of envelopment, click here.