Before sunlight touched the ground, the top of a single thunderstorm over the Bahamas cast a long shadow which stretched westward across the Everglades in the opposite horizon:
True, all egrets are indeed classified as herons, but all white herons are not egrets. I took this photo of two herons before sunrise, so it is not very sharp. Overlook the plumage difference and note the similarities between them. They are the same size and shape, their bills are blue-gray and tipped with black, and they have pale greenish legs. They are both Little Blue Herons:
Immature white plumage is retained for about one year:
The other heron in the photo is this immature Little Blue Heron transitioning into adult plumage. At this stage they are sometimes called "Calico Herons:"
Here is a nice adult Little Blue Heron in our back yard:
They are deliberate hunters, moving slowly and stalking their prey, often adopting this characteristic pose, identifiable from a great distance:
This Little Blue is dwarfed by a Great Egret:
An immature Little Blue Heron casts a nice reflection against that of a neighbor's fence:
The plumage transition provides a variety of patterns. Early in the process there may only be a few dark feathers:
The white flight feathers are replaced by dark adult ones symmetrically, as illustrated in this Little Blue which is being pursued by a Boat-tailed Grackle:
This past week I watched as a backyard immature Little Blue Heron caught a tiny fish (species not identified):
Immature Little Blue herons seem to be at the bottom of the heron pecking order. While herons of all species may vocalize or chase others that approach them too closely when they are hunting, the immature Little Blue Herons seem to be picked upon just for being in the vicinity of adults of the same species as well as Snowy and Great Egrets.
In this sequence, I first noticed two white herons on the far shore of the lake engaged in what appeared to be a hostile encounter, with much parrying and fluttering. It did not look like courtship or mating behavior. As I raised my camera, a Great Egret flew in and intervened. Both combatants were immature Little Blue Herons. One ended up mostly under water with the other standing straight up on top of its back, as seen in the first photo. Upon arrival of the egret, the warring parties took off in opposite directions:
The Snowy Egret is about the same size as the Little Blue, but has a black bill with yellow at its base and black legs with "golden slippers." Here one chases an immature Little Blue Heron:
It is important to note the leg color of the following two white herons. The Great Egret has black legs:
This is not an egret, but a Great Blue Heron white morph ("Great White Heron") in our back yard. Its legs are pale:
The Great White Heron is also much larger than the Great Egret:
We do not venture out into the wetlands when rain threatens. One morning we visited nearby Chapel Trail Nature Preserve and walked the boardwalk with the car parked comfortably nearby.
Swamp Lilies bloomed:
A young Marsh Rabbit nibbled on grass near the parking lot. This small dark cottontail rabbit without any white on its tail is a strong swimmer:
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa).
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to Today's Flowers Friday by Denise
Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display