Sunday, August 17, 2014

Egret Visits Mud Pond

 We've almost come to expect it, this late-summer visit from a beautiful Common Egret to Mud Pond at Moreau Lake State Park.  And sure enough, there it was, when Sue and I stopped by the pond on Saturday morning.  It never stays long as it rests and feeds on its journey south, but it's quite a treat to watch this elegant, snowy-white bird stalk the shallows of the pond or open wide its huge wings and sail gracefully across the lily-studded surface in search of new feeding sites along the shore.

Larger than the more southerly Snowy Egret, and smaller than the strictly southern coastal Great White Heron, the Common Egret (Casmerodius albus) can be told from either of these other white herons by its glossy-black feet and legs.  We were able to get close enough to this marvelous bird to observe the color of its legs as it slowly stalked along, neck arched and eyes trained on the water below.  Then, plooop!  that long neck darted forward, and the egret enjoyed its breakfast!

Update:  Sorry, but I was mistaken in naming this bird the Common Egret.  I was using my old 1966 copy of Birds of North America as my information source, but in the years since this guide was published, this bird has come to be re-named the Great Egret (Ardea alba).  Thanks, Jeff, for giving us the correct information in your comment to this post.


Raining Iguanas said...

Awesome capture! Thank for the identification lesson too. One more thing added to my watch list.

Anonymous said...

Jackie, your egret although informally called a common egret is more formally called a great egret.

great egret (Ardea alba)

Nice photos, Jeff

threecollie said...

It is pretty hard to keep up with names these days as they change so often. I have been really confused by the Egret names and IDs. We saw what was probably a snowy at Rotterdam Mall of all places last year...but I am still confused. Lol By any name, great bird!

Woody Meristem said...

The birds must be confused by all the name changes in recent years. Fortunately, they needn't be concerned by the "professional's" naming choices -- they just go on feeding and breeding.

catharus said...

Interesting, Jackie! - at least to me! - just the fact that you see these at all in your neck of the woods! My guess is that this individual is not "migrating south", but that it's coming as far north as your location, in this warmest time of year (on average). Take a look at the range maps from several sources, and I think you may agree.