Frank, The Great Egret

Frank, The Great Egret

We live on White Heron Lane just up the White Oak River from Swansboro, North Carolina.  We are just off Hampton Bay on the river map.

Great egrets used to be called white herons.  It should be no surprise that a home on White Heron Lane has more than a few great egrets in the marshes around it.  We saw them before we moved here in the summer of 2006 and they have become favorite visitors over the years.

Sometime before our waters started cooling in December, I was returning from a kayaking trip on the river and saw a great egret with two reddish spots on his wings. He looked a little shy and was far away.  It was also late in the day. Even with the great zoom on my Nikon P500 beach camera and the even more powerful zoom on my video camera,  I could not tell what the spots were on the egret’s wings.

Only a few days later, I saw the egret in better light and he was a lot closer.  I figured out that he had been tagged.  I posted his picture on Facebook, and Mary, a friend from Beaufort, North Carolina, found someone who had seen our bird in Morehead City.

It turned out that he enjoyed visiting El’s Drive-In.  However, he would refuse any handouts except for fried shrimp.  Someone there gave him the name Frank.  We saw Frank a few more times in December and early January.  Around the end of January, Frank became a regular visitor and took up residence behind our home.  I could see his tags very well.  I even figured out that he had a metal leg band.

My wife and I became very curious about Frank and I sent an email to Jim Craig, a local bird expert who writes a birding column for the Tideland News.  Jim wrote me that Frank was likely tagged by someone either in Ontario or New York.  He mentioned the New York Ornithological Association’s homepage.

As soon as I got Jim’s note I did some searching and eventually sent a note to Susan Elbin of the New York City Audubon.  Susan wrote me back quickly that Frank was likely one of Chip Weseloh’s birds from Canada.  It was not long before Chip confirmed that and gave us a little of Frank’s history.

Chip related that Frank was “banded on 29 June 2012 as a nestling on Nottawasaga Island near Collingwood, Ontario – about an hour and a half drive NW of Toronto on the south shore of Georgian Bay, Lake Huron.”

“It (Frank) has been resighted twice: once on 27 August 2012 at the Pfefferlaw Peat Bog near Sunderland, Ontario, which is north of Oshawa, Ontario, 50 km east of Toronto; and then 3 times in one day (including once by me) at Cranberry Marsh in Whitby, Ontario, about 35 km east of Toronto.”

All of us who have been involved with Frank are pretty excited to start pulling the pieces of his history together.  I have put together a slide show of some recent pictures of Frank.

After much searching I found the video that I took of Frank on his first visit.  It has now been posted on YouTube.  It is not an exciting video unless you enjoy egrets and their very deliberate moves, but I am happy to have found it since it marks Frank’s first visit to our cove on December 20, 2012.

I have posted maps of where I have sighted Frank29x.  These two are from February 8, 2013, and February 5, 2013.  Frank also has a new Facebook page where I will post information.  This is the link for Frank’s page- .

I am sure Frank would appreciate being “liked.”