Fri Mar 2023

Great Egret*

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.