The Egret made a direct bee-line from far down the slough to this exact spot on the far levee. The big birds spend a lot of time in the pasture perhaps catching the little rodents as they escape their flooding dens. Cows attract a lot of creatures to the pasture, they keep the turf turned up and soft as well as having a lot of feed stored.
I wonder what makes the Egret, or any other bird for that matter choose a particular spot to land. They seem to be very determined I imagine they shout “Eureka! I have found it!”
The Egret is perched about 200 yards away, landing at feeding time the activity may send the small furry ones scattering in a panic from the hooves of the huge mammals. That is most likely the attraction for the Apex Predator, he did not make a move towards the Cattle.
He flew across the slough to this side choosing a perch on the levee further down stream and around the bend. I wonder how much is habit, he seems to land at the same places all day long. Habit or Choice; it has the sound of an extensive research project for some university. They don’t appear to hunt as the other shorebirds do, I have seen them do an about face to land then hunt. They will spend hours at a time motionless, if life is going too fast I stop a watch an Egret; they are on a time schedule all to themselves.
The herd deserves a photo as well, these guy’s are troopers I can watch them for hours. This Ranch raises Cattle, maybe for milk Cows I’m not sure. For some reason there is a continual birthing cycle going on. If you notice the number of Calves it’s unusual for a California Cattle Ranch I suspect these are Dairy Cows. They are valuable; the demand must be high if this is what they are because this Ranch raises close to 1.000 by my reckoning. There are about 300 out there right now, trucks come and go making it hard to estimate the total. Besides it not being any of my business other than to satisfy my curiosity the Ranchers look at as if it’s a ploy to figure out their worth; and it is as all of their capital is in the livestock.
For now the Cows are content, contrary to urban legend Cattle do not only face North to South or vice versa, I don’t know who dreamed that up.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance