For the last few days, I’ve been seeing this tall white bird standing motionless on the side of Great Cruz Bay Road in more or less the same spot. Being that he or she was being so cooperative as a photographer’s model, I went home, got my camera.
I’ve seen these birds many times on St. John, usually in shallow waters near shore or in salt ponds, but I wasn’t too sure of its exact name. I thought it was a Snowy Egret (wrong) or a Great Heron (close but no cigar) It is in fact a Great Egret, identified by its black legs and yellow beak. The snowy egret has a black beak, black legs, but yellow feet. The Great Heron needs to be qualified. It’s either a Great Blue Heron or a Great White Heron.
Wikipedia to the rescue: “The Great Egret (Ardea alba), also known as Great White Egret, Common Egret, Large Egret or Great White Heron”
I also found out some other cool stuff. It stands still like that waiting for prey to come by. This could be fish if it were standing, but in this case I surmise that the egret was looking for lizards. When one comes near enough, the egret makes a lightning quick strike, spearing the poor lizard with its sharp beak.
The Great Egret is doing well as a species, but was almost wiped out in the late 1800s when their feathers became popular as a hat decoration, but was probably saved from extinction when the National Audubon Society chose the Great Egret in flight as its symbol.
It’s been raining quite hard here on St. John for the last day or so causing significant flooding. I’ve heard reports from Coral Bay about rock and mud slides and other flood related problems. On St. Thomas, I heard that Crown Mountain Road is all but impassible.
But here closer to home I’ve seen quite a bit of damage in the area around the Westin where Guinea Gut overflowed. Flood waters ran through the resort and undermined the bridge over the gut and for several hours vehicles could no longer pass between the Westin on the east and the St. John Market on the west. The causes of it all are two areas of stormy weather, one now a named storm, Subtropical Storm Otto and another referred to by the meteorologists as Invest 97.
At the Westin some rooms were flooded, as was the pool and the beach area. Large breaking waves caused a sailboat anchored in Great Cruz Bay to was up on the Westin Beach adding it to the other unfortunate craft brought ashore by Hurricane Earl.
It’s Wednesday night and still raining, hopefully the rain will stop soon.
For us on St. John and in the Virgin Islands Hurricane Earl has come and gone. He was stronger and came earlier than expected. Although not predicted to effect us until late Monday afternoon, conditions deteriorated on Sunday night.
On St. John, boats at anchor suffered the worst of the storm. All the boats in Chocolate Hole were swept from their moorings, save one that later sunk. Several boats were also lost in Great Cruz Bay and Cruz Bay.
Trees were down all over the island and current was out, internet down and cell phones spotty.
Caneel Bay suffered some structural damage and the awning over the dock at the Westin was blown down.
On the BVI matters were worse. On Jost Van Dyke, Sidneys at Little Harbour was pretty much destroyed. Abe’s, also at Little Harbour lost much of their dock. In Great Harbour, Rudy lost his dock. Word from Tortola was bad reporting the loss of many boats. Anegada was the worst hit with widespread damage and flooding.
All about St John in the beautiful US Virgin Islands (USVI) American Paradise