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I went down to the water’s edge after lunch to photograph a large patch of water lilies growing near the shore. I’d had my eye on them for awhile, thinking the pads themselves, even without blossoms, would make an interesting photo.

As I was snapping, I caught sight of an unfamiliar white bird landing on a rock in the middle of the pond. The rocks were exposed due to a dearth of spring rain. Not far away, on another rock, stood an imposing Great Blue Heron.

Was the new arrival a swan? Nope–too small. A gull? No again–much too big. Then it could only be one thing, an egret, a bird we don’t have the pleasure of seeing very often on the pond.

The birds were far away, and the resulting images small even though shot with a telephoto lens and digitally enlarged. Still, by opening the full-screen slide show (click an image), you should easily see enough detail for a proper identification. The black legs and feet, slender yellow bill, long neck, deep neck bow in flight, and absence of plumes, all suggest a Great Egret, not the smaller Snowy Egret. The size relative to the Great Blue, is about right, too; a Snowy would be smaller.

The photo at right (click to enlarge), was taken earlier in the day by Claire LeBlanc, a neighbor at the northern end of the pond. Note the long neck. The date for all the photos was July 20, 2012. The slide show photos are time-stamped below each.

To make the white bird stand out, I reduced the background brightness of the slide show photos, which accounts for their overall gloomy appearance.

Click thumbnails or use keyboard arrows to view slides on this page.

Click any image to open full-screen slide show. Use keyboard arrows to navigate, or press “Enter” key to start autoplay, and keyboard arrow to stop autoplay. Press “Esc” key to return.


One Response to Great Egret*

  1. Jim Fett says:

    Indeed a rare pond occurrence, well captured Ron!

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