Maybe because I grew up in an environment where the most distinctive birds I would see were robins, bluejays and cardinals, I find the egret — in this case a milky-white plumed heron and a black-headed heron — simply exotic. And these long-necked birds, along with local ducks, geese and occasional cormorants, choose my local park in Verona, New Jersey to bask in the sun and cool themselves by the waterfall. Here I am, less than 15 miles from the metropolis of New York City, in a densely populated commuter town that has few (if any) open plots of undeveloped land. Yet these beautiful birds choose to hang out here. How can I not take pictures of them?

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