A great egret, a majestic white bird with a five-foot wingspan, takes to the air. One might imagine that this elegant large creature inhabits only exotic settings, but in fact this egret lives at the heart of the extremely urban San Francisco Bay Area. Specifically, this bird belongs to an egret colony on Bay Farm Island off the southern tip of Alameda
A Monterey pine leans over the lagoon on Bay Farm Island in Alameda, home to a San Francisco Bay Area egret breeding colony. Nesting begins as early as February and continues through August .
The egrets and the tree are almost hidden. After the chicks are born and they begin to grow, the tree will resound with the rhythmic clacking of egrets. The egret is the logo for the nearby Harbor Landing plaza, but the lagoon, tree and egrets are out of sight.
A meandering path around the lagoon goes under the tree and around the water’s edge. There are seven villages connected by a mile of walkways and foot bridges. It’s a place for strolls, dog walking, bicycling and bird watching. On the lagoon are ducks and night herons, and perhaps a kayak or rowboat. There are condos on either side of the lagoon, many with docks and boats out their back doors.