Look at these neat-looking guys we saw today while on the boat. Linda has seen them before on the golf course, but this was the first time I have ever seen these birds. They have some beautiful and interesting markings on them, especially the brown ring around the eye.
They are called Egyptian Geese, and they were domesticated by the ancient Egyptians some 4,000 years ago. They are common in much of Africa.
They came to the U.S. in the latter part of the 20th century from the Nile Delta as captives for zoos or decorative parks and gardens. Over time some have escaped, and those in both the Houston area and parts of Florida apparently find the climate to their liking and are thriving.
Interestingly, the Egyptian Goose is not really a goose, but a Shelduck, an Old World species that is a cross between a goose and a duck. It has many duck-like characteristics, but it also has some external goose-like traits. It actually feeds on land because its bill is not designed to filter food from water.
The photo on the left is nothing exciting, just this willet as it was wandering along the rocky shoreline looking for a tasty tidbit. As you can see, he was pretty much ignoring me.
But now look at the right-hand photo. At first glance the willet seems to have disappeared. But look again, and you see him, snuggled in among the rocks.
I am not very good at photos of birds in flight, so when I do catch one, I want to show it. That's it - there's no story with this picture. Just a lovely bird.
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