Turns out, this is a common Snowy Egret fishing technique. The closest name I could find to attach to it is "foot dragging" - you can read more about other techniques in the link below. Snowy Egrets have great big yellow feet, and they skim those yellow toes across the water in hopes that a fish or frog will think it is something tasty. I put out a call to "the guys" for illustrative photos, and as always, they came through. Matt contributed this beauty - you can see two spots where the toes have gone in, almost like a skipping stone.
It was such a treat to watch these birds and their antics - they reminded me of a bunch of teenage skateboarders. They didn't work in pairs, they didn't seem to be much interested in eating, and they didn't interfere with other birds - they just waited their respective turn and took off skimming. What fun!
When they stir up something good, the Snow Egret can snag it in mid flight. Lucky for us, Charlie Corbeil snagged this photo and shared it.Links: