Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

The Family Threskiornithidae

Bert Gildart: Bay Bayou RV Resort has grown on us, in part because of the delightful accommodations, but as well, because of the assortment of people. Lots of these folks we’ve meet while walking the compound, but others we have met while walking the shores of Bay Bayou, which borders us on several sides.

Most recently, we attended the Christmas celebration, and the function was one in which we RVers were all invited by the management to a grand feed. They provided the turkey, while we, in turn, provided the side dishes. Suffice it to say that no one left hungry.

One of the biggest attractions for us has been the bird life and we’re finding that “birding” is something we share in common with many others. In fact, several locals are so thoroughly acquainted with birds that they can almost recite a bird’s Family, Genus, and Species.

“No,” said John, our new acquaintance just several sites away, “that’s not an ibis of the family Threskiornithidae; rather it belongs to the family Ardeidae and that includes herons and egrets.”

By now, as you can certainly understand, John had my rapt attention, and so he continued to explain that you can differentiate between herons and ibises by looking at the beak. “Ibises,” says John, “have a long beak that is down curved, but not so the herons and egrets. What we’re seeing here, today, is a member of the heron family because its bill is long and straight.”

John still has my attention (He checks to see!), and he continues, asking if I can tell whether the bird is a heron or egret. Because the bird is white, I make it an egret and John exclaims that I am right, but adds that you can easily confuse an immature Little Blue Heron with an egret.

Continuing, John says that the bird I’m seeing from the dock is Egretta thula, the Snowy Egret, and that we can tell by the coloration of its snow-white plumage and black beak with a patch of yellow at its base. As well, it has bright-yellow feet.

Because I.D.-ing birds is such a fascinating study, we progressed in our conversation, talking about all the other aspects of a bird’s topography, trying to draw other walkers into our conversation with words like “coverts,” “speculum,” “scapulars,” and “median lines,” but we both quickly sensed these other passer bys had much to do, for they could not be drawn in. But the day, of course, is very, very young.

Tonight is New Years Eve, and we will be attending the party at the Bay Bayou Community Center to listen to Gordy play some good Merle Haggard tunes, truly one of my favorites. Gordy, incidentally, as a musician and partially retired motorcycle policeman, has an interesting background, and I hope to sneak in a visit or two with him.

Then, while he’s singing, perhaps we’ll find the people who passed up this morning’s dialog on the family Threskiornithidae. I really do want to detail what they missed.

One Response to “The Family Threskiornithidae”

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