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:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
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
Hello Ken, love the gorgeous sky shots. The Little Blues are gorgeous, but I love all the birds. Great series. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!ReplyDelete
your photos are so wonderful! love egrets (and herons). loved the crabby snowy shot! and the fence reflection shot, especially.ReplyDelete
awwww love those twilight shotsReplyDelete
and who doesn't love to stumble across a bunny
Egrets are beautiful birds.ReplyDelete
Fascinating images of nature!
these are all so great!!ReplyDelete
These are fantastic shots, and also great information about the herons and egrets that I did not know. Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
Hi Ken, I can't get over the magnificent details and gorgeous reflections in your photos! And thank you so much for sharing the information, too!ReplyDelete
First I love your photo of the Heron and Fence reflection. The Egrets and Herons are gorgeous birds.ReplyDelete
The little Marsh Bunny was adorable and I also like the pretty white flower.
Absolutely breathtaking photography, each photo is a sight to behold. It is hard to pick a favorite. I thank you so much for linking with Today's Flowers and I wish you a very happy weekend.ReplyDelete
Absolutely stunning, the Egrets are beautiful.ReplyDelete
You're well rewarded for getting up so early. Love those sky shots!!ReplyDelete
What a great walk to start the day, amazing shots.ReplyDelete
great to see all the differnt staes of chuange in the plumage of the Herons and ALL the photographs are stunning KennethReplyDelete
I love their reflections in the water...what fantastic captures!! :)ReplyDelete
Your photos are stunningly good! Bravo!!!ReplyDelete
That second sky shot is just amazing!ReplyDelete
wow- stunning photos of all the birds!!!ReplyDelete
Beautiful bird shots,as always- some fantastic reflections and I love the sky shadow.ReplyDelete
merci pour ce beau moment avec les hérons ! et le reflet est superbe !ReplyDelete
So nice. Thanks for sharing. I love the little Blue which is being pursued by that boattailed Grackle. That's is a great shot!ReplyDelete
Your reflections are superb especially the young heron in flight.ReplyDelete
Interesting information, too
Gorgeous images, stunning colours. Loved the action shots and the reflections are beautiful.ReplyDelete
What an informative post, thank you for sharing.
Have a brilliant bird watching weekend :)
Hello, love the cute bunny and the herons. The juvenile mottled Little Blue is a beauty! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing the info on the herons & egrets,your photos are so beautiful!Thanks for sharing!phyllisReplyDelete
First before I forget, I think that fish is a needle fish. Not sure.ReplyDelete
Love the one with the fence reflection, and enjoyed reading about the heron/egret. Oh, and especially liked the term, 'calico heron'. Wonderful water fowl today Ken.
Thanks for sharing this bird outing with us today at I'd Rather B Birdin' ... always a pleasure.
Love that shot of the Grackle harassing the heron. Great post.ReplyDelete
Cheers - Stewart M - Darwin, NT
Hello Ken!:) Such an informative post. I enjoyed learning about the plumage transition of the Little Blue Heron, it can be difficult to distinguish them from Egrets at a distance. I enjoyed seeing all your photos, with great portraits, action,and reflection shots.:)ReplyDelete
There are so many great pictures here. I can't pick between themReplyDelete
I love the herons! Rabbit is pretty cute, too!ReplyDelete
ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!
My goodness, I learned so much from your wonderful blog post. Thank you for sharing the information on little blue heron plumage - I would not have guessed they were the same species. Learning about all the white waterbirds that you featured was really interesting. Furthermore, I had no idea there were swimming rabbits. Remarkable!ReplyDelete
I hope my comment went through. I always enjoy your amazing photos and learn a lot from your posts too! Thanks!ReplyDelete
How lovely! All of these photos!!!ReplyDelete
Could that second photo have possibly been a waterspout? I've never seen one but that was the first thought that popped into my mind.
Thank you for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/08/along-eno-river.html
Learned so much from this post; didn't even know that egrets were actually classified as herons. Did a crossword not too long ago with a clue something like 'white heron' and it made me mad when the answer was egret (good thing I didn't write an angry letter to Will Shortz ;>)).... I can distinguish between the adult varieties of egrets and learned about the Great White Heron recently. But I don't know if I will ever understand and be able to identify immatures (of any species, not just 'herons').ReplyDelete
Liked the birding class a lot. It goes very well with your photos. The marsh rabbit is very cute.ReplyDelete