Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Neato Bird!

This past week we were in Bridgeport helping with the grandsons. Sarah and Jeff live just down from Deegan and Hinkle Lakes Park. Judy and I always keep an eye out for birds. We stopped the car on Saturday and checked out the Great Blue Heron that resides in this area. The Great Blue sat motionless until we got out of the car and started walking closer to the beast. The bird decided that enough was enough and flew across the lake.

As we ventured toward Sarah and Jeff's house, we had to stop and check out this exotic white bird. Most folk would think this is a Great White Heron feeding in the mudflats.

The problem is that the Great White Heron is actually a morph of the Great Blue and the range is restricted to the south. The largest and most widespread heron in North Ame
rica, the Great Blue Heron can be found along the ocean shore or the edge of a small inland pond, but the all white form is found from southern Florida into the Caribbean, and used to be considered a separate species, the "Great White Heron."

On closer inspection, we realized that what we were actually seeing is a migrating Great Egret. The Great Egret is found across much of the world, from southern Canada southward to Argentina, and in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. This is the largest egret in the Old World. In the New World, however, the white form of the Great Blue Heron is larger. In the United States, the Great Egret used to be called the American Egret but that was hardly appropriate, si
nce its range extends beyond the Americas and indeed farther than other herons/egrets.

It is always a joy to see these jewels of nature!


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