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Birds put on show at Jenkins




GREAT EGRETS VISIT — A flock of Great Egrets, a type of heron, made a visit to Jenkins Lake last week. The birds, once endangered, are migrating South for winter. (Photos by Sally Barto)

GREAT EGRETS VISIT — A flock of Great Egrets, a type of heron, made a visit to Jenkins Lake last week. The birds, once endangered, are migrating South for winter. (Photos by Sally Barto)

Wood ducks, Canada geese, seagulls and cranes each make an annual appearance at Jenkins Lake, but last week a new visitor made a quick stop in Jenkins.

At least 50 egrets could be seen flying around the lake and nesting in tall trees near the lake on Oct. 14. The large white herons with long necks and sharp beaks also waded in the water.

“I didn’t know what they were,” said Jenkins Mayor Charles Dixon. “That’s a new one on me. That’s the first time I have seen them.”

G.C. Kincer, who has lived near the lake since 1991, said he had never seen egrets in Jenkins before either, and credits the lake for being a stable place for birds to visit during their migrations.

“Birds of migration recognize this lake and realize it is permanent,” said Kincer. “Where the lake has been so stationary, it is something they can depend on. They’ve traveled a long way so we are definitely in a migrating path.”

Kincer said the pattern of nature can’t be changed.

Great Egrets rested on tree limbs at Jenkins Lake last week before departing Letcher County for warmer climates.

Great Egrets rested on tree limbs at Jenkins Lake last week before departing Letcher County for warmer climates.

“The whole flock learns it,” said Kincer. “It’s embedded in their brains. They have a mapping system they learn from their parents and pass it on.”

The egrets attracted a crowd during their short stay at the lake.

“At one time there were 12 cars out in front of the lake with people taking photos,” said Kincer. “Wildlife is the one big attraction for any park or lake. Wildlife brings people in.”

After only a few days of hanging around the lake the egrets flew on to a new destination on Oct. 16. Kincer predicts the egrets will stop back by the lake next fall.

“I think they have found a new place,” said Kincer.

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