Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snowy Egrets Nesting in Elder Trees

Have you ever seen Snowy Egrets, Egretta thula, nesting in Elderberry trees? Neither had I until yesterday. I couldn't resist posting this picture for all my wild harvesting and nature loving friends. I took this picture yesterday in Orlando, Florida at Gatorland. There must have been 50 or more Snowy Egrets in dressed in full breeding plumage nesting among the Elder trees high above the Florida Alligator. These Elder trees are the variety Sambucus simpsonnii. As you can see Elders bloom very early in Florida. I image the baby egrets look quite soft and fluffy and camouflaged with elder blossoms to the right and left. Some of the trees even had berries on them. Elder flowers and Elderberries are two of my favorites items to harvest in Florida. I make extractions with the flowers and berries separately, or make a syrup with the berries. Elderflower extract can be added to hot tea to help resolve Wind-heat common colds characterized by fever, sore throat, and rapid floating pulse. Elderflower infused oil also makes a nice cosmetic base for skin salves or creams. I also make Elderberry extract from the ripe berries and take it at the first sign of on coming cold. This can help to ward off a full blown cold. I have found the berry extract particularly useful for children or babies in small doses for common cold with fever and sore throat or rashes. Make sure if you are harvesting Elder you are in a bird-free zone. ;)
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