Paradise Island

Location, location, location. In real estate, it’s what everybody wants. When it comes to coveted property, Great Egg Harbor Bay has it all. Centrally located and convenient, with a wealth of nearby dining options, the bay is dotted with islands large and small. Most are sandy salt-marsh, nice enough for shorebirds. The discriminating wading bird will be searching for a little bit more. Something with trees, thickets of vines and shrubs, security, and privacy. Perfect condos in which to raise one’s young.

Hi, folks, I’m Harry Night-Heron, real estate reporter for KRTR 99.9 FM, Critter Radio. Welcome to A Home in the Wild where we take a look at the best properties available in the area! What do we look for in a rookery? Location counts, sure, as do the little amenities. But I’ve always said that the mark of a high-end property is the company it keeps, and this neighborhood keeps plenty of it.

Today we offer you a little community that I like to call… Paradise Island. Let’s meet the neighbors, shall we?  

This in-demand development is a family community that welcomes children with open wings. Great Egrets are raising their families here. Junior’s just at that age where he wants to do everything Dad does.

Except maybe when he doesn’t. And does he let Dad know it!

Diversity is desirable in rookeries, and this one has a wide variety of wading bird species. For instance, this strikingly hued Little Blue Heron

…and his not-so-colorful offspring. Young little blues are white, and look much like egrets, but the dark bill this youngster sports sets him apart. Why wear white as a youngster? The Snowy Egrets let you hang out with them! The cool crowd – and you can catch more fish!

Higher in the canopy are the Glossy Ibises. These gregarious birds gather in groups, are always on the move, and tend to be noisy.

On the other hand, they’re always entertaining! As an added feature, the grackles and blackbirds are so busy chasing the ibises, they won’t pay attention to your cozy little nest tucked away in the greenery.

All these bird families make the rookery seem crowded. That’s one of the perks of nesting here. Remember, “Many eyes keep many safe!” With birds active at all times of the day and night, there will always be someone on the lookout for trespassers. That’s what neighbors are for. The more, the merrier!

Paradise Island is ideally situated next to Ocean City’s Visitor Center and the busy 9th St. Bridge. For some, it may be a little too convenient. It sometimes attracts the riffraff. Like humans with their binoculars and long camera lenses.

And the occasional Willet.

Shorebirds as a group tend to dress conservatively. Willets are the flashy exception, always showing off those white wing bars. They brag a lot, too, behavior not always welcome in proper wading bird society. But their noisy commotion protects everybody from potential predators, so it’s all good.

Crème de la crème of the Paradise Island society is the Black-crowned Night-heron. With an all-black head and a whitish throat, he’s a dapper fellow, no?

Looking for a good night’s sleep? Not with these guys around! They’re called “night-herons” for a reason. During the day, they’re roosting quietly with their families. Not so at night! Nighttime is for hitting the restaurant scene. Bistros on Paradise Island offer a wide range of gourmet meals, from worms, insects, shrimp and crabs to fish.

Oops, this fellow’s got an itch. A little parasite, perhaps. When you choose an island condo, bugs come standard. No upgrade fees!

If your heart’s desire is a Paradise Island condo, many of your neighbors will be Yellow-crowned Night-herons.

You’ll recognize these residents right away. There’s no mistaking the yellowish-white forehead, eye stripe and those distinctive head plumes.

Despite the Night-heron name, time of day means nothing to yellow-crowns. Sun up or down, they’re always ready to roll.

It’s all about the tide, high tide being the best time to search out those succulent crabs they all love.

With so many mouths to feed, yellow-crowned night-herons are glad of the dining opportunities at Paradise Island.

One day, you have eggs.

The next, a nest full of hungry youngsters. There is no rest for the weary.

Young night-herons go through a gawky phase. When the new feathers come in, covered with a tight sheath, they’re known as “pin feathers.”

As they develop, the sheath breaks open to reveal the budding feather, with bits of natal down still clinging to the tip.

The density of the vegetation spares these awkward young birds the embarrassment of being seen in pin feathers by their peers.

At last, the little ones are off to dreamland, and Mom can get a well-earned nap. She’s just one of many satisfied residents of this waterfront community.

Paradise Island offers a wealth of sought-after features: secluded nest sites, bugs, gourmet eateries, noisy neighbors, rambunctious kids, constant traffic. All perfect for raising – and protecting – a growing family!

Thanks for joining us today, folks. I’m Harry Night-heron, and this is A Home in the Wild on KRTR 99.9 FM, Critter Radio! Tune in next time as we hit the road with the ultimate in RVs and mobile homes, the turtles!