Not all white herons are blue

I might have confused some folks the other day with the post about the young Little Blue Heron that is white (Egretta caerulea) – and I wrote a note/comment to one reader to steer him towards some heron ID work. Most of the white heron-type birds we see here on the east coast are egrets – small ones are snowy egrets, and the large ones are great egrets. Used to be American egrets, so when I’m birding with Marie, I expect her to call them that…

(some Great Blue Herons are white – but I think mostly just in Florida. Reddish egrets are white sometimes too…but I’ve never seen either up here. Them’s southern. Generally, white heron-ish birds are egrets. Except when they’re Little Blue Herons, who are southern birds, slowly becoming more common up here in New England).

then today, my day was book-ended with a great egret (Ardea alba) fishing in the river. One of many nice things about working at home now is I get to see a lot of what goes on here on the river. While lashing & fitting basket-rims and handles, I got these shots.

down river
down river view

Egrets like to fish in the shade. Sometimes you can see them spread their wings to shade the water…but this guy just hung out at the end of the wall…for over 1/2 an hour.

up river
up river view

I saw him get a fish this morning, then one or two in about 6 attempts this afternoon.

great egret stalking

 

great egret profile

 

great egret poking

 

Great Egrets have black legs; Little blue herons have greenish-yellow legs. But snowy egrets can confuse you too… I found a page by Sibley about the distinctions

http://www.sibleyguides.com/2012/08/distinguishing-immature-white-little-blue-heron-from-snowy-egret/

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6 thoughts on “Not all white herons are blue

  1. There is a pond right next to the road on the way to a farm I work at, the shoulder of the road is the “beach”. The other day a kingfisher flew directly in front of me then dived on the pond as I went to work, a green heron ran from one patch of cat tails to another when I passed on the way home. What a great pond!

  2. nice shot of stretch and nice shots on the rocks–also all egrets and herons have big feet, they are well planted–and I still call this kind that Peter shot, as I initially learned to call them, American Egrets.

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