Snowy Egrets in Mesquite Tree Photographs

Photos by Greg Clark, May 15, 1999

In South-Central Arizona there are very few naturally- occurring bodies of water capable of supporting fish. However, there are many artificial ponds constructed for cattle operations. During very dry conditions these ponds can be the only source of water large enough to support enough food for Snowy Egrets. Both Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets are common near these ponds, however, in the record drought conditions of 1999 only these three egrets have been seen at one of the few ponds still holding water. It is hard to believe that in one of the driest parts of the United States it is common to find a bird normally associated with an abundance of water. The pond supporting these birds is only 150 feet in diameter. Note the yellow flowers on the Mesquite tree. These flowers did not come out until May in 1999 (1-2 months later than a typical year).


If the Snowy Egret is breeding there is a change in the yellow bill color and the color of the legs. Also the feathers become more lacy and stand out from the bird's body. No Snowy Egret breeding in the middle of the Sonora desert has been detected by us yet. But we continue to look! home

Copyright Greg Clark, 1999

update 8/2012