Thursday, August 30, 2018

Waders in white (#822)

Take a better look at that long-legged white bird walking along the shore across the lake. At such a distance it may not be possible to see the finer points which clinch the identification. Size alone can be misleading, as without a yardstick for comparison, white birds often seem to be larger than they really are.
The white bird with a long neck is barely visible in this photo...

Cloud over The Everglades 20180811

...or here (click on image to enlarge):

Great Egret in distance 20180717

A closer look at the second photo reveals a Great Egret:

Great Egret 01-20180717

These two smaller birds are having a spat over rights to the best fishing spot. They seem to be about the same size, but there are some difference which set them apart. The Snowy Egret, on the right, has a black bill with yellow base and mostly black legs with yellow feet. The retreating immature Little Blue Heron has a gray bill with dark tip and greenish legs:

Snowy chases Little Blue 03-20150812

The Snowy Egret appears to be gloating in victory...

Snowy chases Little Blue 04-20150812

...while the Little Blue Heron is not far away, adopting a characteristic hunting posture, stooped with neck outstretched and bill near the surface of the water. This can help identify it from a great distance:

Little Blue Heron 2-20150812

The size difference between these two egrets is remarkable. Note the yellow bill and black legs of the Great Egret and the yellow "golden slippers" of the Snowy Egret:

Snowy and Great Egrets 02-20180807

Here is another nice size comparison between a Great Egret and an adult White Ibis, whose red decurved bill is distinctive.

Great Egret and White Ibis 20170110

In flight, the ibis displays black wingtips:

White Ibis XLIGHT 20160322

This large white wader appeared on our back lawn back in June, 2016:

Great White Heron reduced 20140811

I first saw it at a distance and almost passed it off as another Great Egret. However, its size and posture as it rested next to the lake made me take a second look. It certainly reminded me of this Great Blue Heron:

Great Blue Heron 05-20180326

Indeed, it was a "Great White Heron," the white color variation of the Great Blue Heron:

Great White Heron CROP 4X5 2-20140811

Here is a composite image showing the bills of three herons from about the same distance, all visitors to our back yard, The Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, and "Great White Heron":

Bill comparison vignette2

This small white wader with a short yellow bill and black legs is a Cattle Egret:

 Cattle Egret 20160830

Cattle Egrets usually forage away from water and feel right at home with this Longhorn cow:

Cow and Cattle Egrets HDR 2-20160905

They often perch on the backs of cattle to catch insects attracted to them:

Cattle Egret on steer 20170304

Cattle Egret on back of cow 20141030

Cattle Egrets are easily identified in full breeding plumage, when their legs turn red (deeper color in the male on right) and they develop rusty plumes:

Cattle Egret pair 05-20170407

Here are two Cattle Egrets in a flock of with nine Snowy Egrets:

Snowy and Cattle Egrets 20140331

Yesterday I celebrated my entry into the fourth year of the ninth decade of my life, thankful that I can walk the Wounded Wetlands and enjoy the serene beauty and grace of egrets...

Great Egret 02-20180614

Snowy Egret 02-20180403

Great Egret 01-20180122

Great Egret before sunrise 20171108

Snowy Egret 01-20170605

Great Egret 06-20161213

Great Egret before sunrise HDR 04-20160926

Great Egret takes flight HDR 01-20160911

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh

 Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia


Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display



  1. Love the egret and heron photos with the reflections. Beautiful!!

  2. Wonderful photos! I saw an egret the other day and this is helpful in confirming its identity.

  3. Happy 84th birthday Kenneth and still takingexcellent photographs. Thanks for explaining all the differences in the Egrets and Heron. Have a great weekend.

  4. Fine post identifying the various egrets and herons. Especially like your reflection photos.

  5. Very nice shots and reflections!

  6. Beautiful captures of the egrets and herons. I love the Cattle Egrets, I do not see them often around here. Happy Birthday! Great post and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend! PS, thanks also for the comment on my blog.

  7. Happy Birthday! You amaze me and inspire me! I've found a real love of nature in recent years and it's been great to live here in Florida. We sure got confused the first time we saw an immature Little Blue Heron! They are neat! Love your photos! Hope you're still celebrating today...and all weekend! Have fun!

  8. Altho snowy is the easiest to Id 'cause they have yellow feet (don't eat yellow 'snow')...sometimes their feet are immersed or muddy! Great images Ken.

    I'm late getting around to visiting today...birding early before the holiday traffic built up! Thanks for linking in with us this weekend!

  9. Wonderful shots! I love the cloud reflection in the top photo. It took me awhile but I found the white bird. :-)

  10. Almost forgot to wish you a belated happy birthday. You make me feel young. ;-p

  11. Thank you for pointing out the differences between all these white birds - would be hard to see from a distance! Your captures are all stunning! I LOVE the scene with that one white cloud - perfect!
    Now I know why I often see a bird on the back of a cow! Never occurred to me that it was for a meal:) That's a great anticipation for Sept. Hope none of the hurricanes coming this month will touch where you live!Thank you for sharing these white egrets and herons with All Seasons and have a beautiful week!

  12. Happy Birthday, Kenneth! What a wonderful post to celebrate with. I didn't know that egrets were a kind of heron. No wonder I sometimes confuse them. :-)

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  14. Margaret, I think you were off by a year-- or was it me? I have trouble getting my mind around the fact that the 21st Century didn't start until 2001. Let's see-- the 100th year of the first century was 100, so the second century didn't start until 101. Hmm... Right?

  15. Happy Birthday to you! And Happy Birthday to us that you can share your endless talents with us …. such spectacular photos, and the knowledge to go with it! I thought it significant that many of these photos have the birds with wings outstretched - an appropriate image for you!

  16. Fabulous images. The birds are just stunning to see.

  17. Love the images with the cows and the egrets - the cows are pretty good just by themselves!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  18. All wonderful shots, but the egret ones are positively stunning!
    Thanks for sharing at

  19. Snowy white perfection! Beautiful images of each bird. Thanks for the comparisons.

  20. I really love the last photo, but I really like the reflections of the birds in the water too. How lovely! Have a great weekend.


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