Everyday as our guests walk down the pier to the ships at Patriots Point, they often are able to take in the wonders of nature living here, on and in Charleston Harbor. From manatees, otters, alligators, to all types of wildlife, birds and fish…yesterday I watched an odd type of tango between a Great Egret and a Spottailed Bass. This is not the first time I have observed this tango. Usually the fish follows behind the wading bird, possibly because as a bottom feeder the egret’s movement stirs up the bottom. This forces tasty morsels into the open, allowing the bass to feed quite easily in the bird’s wake. One day I watched a bass chase a blue crab that an egret had stirred up off the bottom. The crab ran back up in between the egrets legs almost to the waterline and the bass followed him…the collision between the bass and egret resulted in a large squawk and jump from the egret and the bass did a quick muddy, splashy turnaround…the blue crab rested on the waterline, safe and sound!
Look at the images below to watch these two amazing creatures in action at Patriots Point!
The Great Egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society and is found on every continent except Antarctica. They were nearly wiped out in the early 20th century as their plumes were valued for lady’s hats. Over 95% of the population were destroyed, but after the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed in 1918, the egrets made a quick and amazing recovery. Today there are around 270,000 in the United States and world population is around 1,225,000.
The Spottailed Bass is also known as Red Drum, Channel Bass, Redfish or Reds. Their range is along the southern United States Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. They feed on crabs, shrimp, and sand dollars in the summer and fall.
What wonders of nature will today bring as our visitors walk down the pier at Patriots Point, I wonder…