Thursday, July 29, 2010

Great White Heron [Correction- Great Egret!] Pictures

These Great Egret (thanks to my Anonymous commenter for correcting us) pictures come courtesy of my friend Elizabeth's in-laws. She tells me they love nature and wildlife photography, especially birds. I'm grateful to them for sharing these pictures since it adds to the diversity of photos on my blog.

These are from their trip to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, SC. My guess is these are from the Swamp Garden since the link for that section is a picture of a Great Egret! I'm quite the detective... haha

A very similar species is the The Great White Heron- a morph of the Great Blue Heron, a common New England bird. The surest way to tell them apart is to look at their range (they're only found in Southern Florida). For other clues see the comments section of this post. As my Anonymous commenter pointed out- it would be highly unlikely to see a Great White Heron in South Carolina.

Granted this is a Great Egret and not a Great White Heron, I still find it amusing how similar it is to my recent Great Blue Heron eating habits post. The fish that this egret is eating is much smaller, and certainly a different species than the one my heron was eating, but I think it's still cool that we both got similar shots.

In fact, I saw a Great Blue Heron just this morning while I was commuting to work on the train. We pass over a portion of Boston Harbor/Quincy Bay? It was low tide and he was standing out in the middle of the flats, neck up straight as an arrow. I love how diverse their look can be- depending on how you stumble upon a heron, it can look like a completely different bird.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a Great Egret to me.

Birdinggirl said...

Ohh, this is very interesting. Since I've never seen either one in real life I can't be a good judge.

The long whispy tail feathers match the Great Egret pictures I'm looking at, but the bill matches the Great White Heron pictures I'm looking at.

Anyone else want to chime in?

Anonymous said...

The white morph of GB Heron, sometimes called "Great White Heron," has pale legs and a heavier bill than the Great Egret, and is larger and heavier overall. The Great Egret, as shown in your photo, has black legs and a relatively thinner bill that is slightly downcurved. (The heron bill is straight.) The The wispy feathers you observe are actually plumes from the back that drape over the rump. The Great Egret also has pale green lores, as your photo shows. The range of the "Great While Heron" is limited to the Florida Keys, while the Great Egret ranges up the coast yo SC and beyond. Always take range and LIKELIHOOD into account when identifying a bird, especially when differentiating between similar birds. It would be very unlikely to see a "Great White Heron" in SC.

Compare these photos of a "Great White Heron" -- heft, bill, leg color.

Birdinggirl said...

@anonymous: Thank you for sharing your Great Blue Heron white morph knowledge! I'll revise my post so it includes the correct information.

Larry said...

Terrific detail in the photo! Are you still using the Canon S2IS?

Birdinggirl said...

@Larry: Yes I am still using the Canon S2 IS, but didn't take these pictures. These were submitted to me by a friend, but I'll try to find out what kind of camera was used!