I have spoken previously of my delight in seeing birds in trees- reminiscent of Persian, Indian and Chinese paintings. Because of this, after visiting the Pelicans on the Malibu Lagoon, I was in Heaven when passing through the Malibu Country Mart (of all places!- Heaven?), to spot three Great Egret's nests in an over-pruned Ficus Tree in the car lot. I have taken photos of this tree on other occasions, as, although one regrets the totally unnecessary heavy pruning, it is a pretty shape against a blue sky. However, it is a strange tree to choose to nest in, with its lack of foliage...
For those who don't know the area, this is a very up-market mart, where misguided people go to spot Celebrities. While I was taking photos of the birds I had many conversations with passers-by, wondering why I was standing there getting a crick in my neck. One man told me that he remembered the area when it was just a wetland, full of wildlife. Like me, he was enchanted that the Egrets were able to ignore the costs of real-estate there and just make their home in a tree, right in the hub of it!
When I first arrived, there was no sign of life on the three nests apart from the sitting females, who occasionally rose to titivate their nests and spread out their amazingly exotic plumage. There being no sign of the male birds, I assumed there were no hatched eggs.
A woman who talked to me expressed her gratitude to me for giving her an experience of a life-time: while she had been watching the birds with me, suddenly a male egret arrived with great panache, croaking loudly to announce his arrival. He then proceeded to alight on the female, sitting patiently on the uncomfortable looking nest, and to mate with her. We agreed with each other that we felt rather voyeuristic watching this intimate scene. Later- as a reward?- the male came back with a stick for his partner to add to the nest. Below are some of the photos I took: