The great egret (Ardea alba), also known as the common egret, large egret, or great white egret or great white heron is a large, widely distributed egret, with four subspecies found in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and southern Europe. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, it builds tree nests in colonies close to water.
What is the difference between a great white heron and egret?Great egrets are a little smaller than the white-phase great blue heron, but the real giveaway is the color of the legs. Great egrets have black legs while white-phase great blue herons have much lighter legs. Herons also have slightly heavier beaks and “shaggier” feathers on their breast.
Spotted yesterday by the stream. It seems this fellow has its favorite perch in this area. I was able to get up fairly close and he displayed his orange tail as he landed.
A few minutes later he swooped down and caught a vole. I was directly under him and he couldn’t have cared less about me. I think he likes The Oxbow now all the ragweed has gone, he can see his prey easier.
I thought this bird was a cormorant. Its a regular these days around The Oxbow, and its evaded any close up photos so far.
The best I’ve done are these, on my zoomed Iphone.
Then I spotted a photo on the BBC’s web page and realised I was probably wrong. The color of the plumage on the throat gave it away.
The tricoloured heron (Egretta tricolor), also known as the Louisiana heron, is a colorful medium-sized heron of the Americas with a liking for coastal swamps and marshes. In flight and at rest they hold their neck at a curve similar in shape to an ‘S’.
If it is a Tri Colored Heron, then perhaps its a little off course, as the Wikipedia web page doesn’t show its habitat being this far north.
I’ve been informed that herons spear their fish, but cormorants dive for theirs, and the two photographed above were diving and catching fish. A search in my Audubon bird book stated they are immature GREAT CORMORANTS, Phalacrocorax carbo, which accounts for their brown color, which will change to black in maturity. They winter here from NewFoundland and can be as far south as New Jersey.
I suppose when you live in an urban area like The Oxbow, you’re going to see some unusual things occasionally and today was no exception.
As we went for our morning walk with the dogs, we heard this huge commotion coming from the stream. About twenty ducks were kicking up one hell of a racket, quite an unusual sound for ducks.
Then, a little further on, a murder of crows were high in the island’s trees making another deafening din. I don’t know what had got into the wildlife today. Is it some sort of bird holiday, or are all the berries fermenting and they’re a little sozzled?
Just as we were coming out of the Bow by the old long shed, a big hawk flew towards us, and then straight past us, carrying a large grey squirrel. I think it was a red-tail hawk. The bird had just flown down and plucked the squirrel out of a tree.
My dogs were quite jealous, they’ve been trying to get one out of those trees for months.
A fairly mild, but foggy morning made the Oxbow scenery look rather different today. It’s always amazing how much more sound travels when the air is saturated like this. The trains whistles were especially loud.
Our resident Blue Heron decided he wasn’t flying due to bad weather, and I was able to get up fairly closely to take these photos.
Note how he’s standing on one leg. Magnificent creature!
I’ve spotted this guy hanging around Coyote Island in the Oxbow on several occasions, but more frequently, I’ve heard him calling from the treetops. This afternoon, I got a really good close up look as he flew between the two islands and then along the Oxbow trail. There was no mistaking him this time, dark brown, white belly, striped head, and the now unmistakable call as he cussed me for disturbing his fishing with my pontoon boat.
Here are some photos and videos I’ve found on the web, as I’ve been unable to take any myself.
I suspect those folks living close to the canal have heard him calling recently.
Everyone is trying to help this bird recover from being almost wiped out by DDT chemicals which weakened the egg shells, resulting in a horrific decline. The National Grid has even made special fiberglass plates to put over poles to stop the birds from being electrocuted.
Today at 2.35pm, we had a partial eclipse in New York. If you didn’t know about it, then you couldn’t have been listening to the news, because the event has been widely publicized, as it’s the first total eclipse for most of the USA in ninety nine years.
We thought we’d watch it from our deck, which overlooks the canal at the Oxbow and is facing due south. There really wasn’t much to see, until — hundreds of small birds, mostly sparrows, descended onto our garden fence, and then flew in and out of our pine tree. They were noisy and very agitated. I guess they roost there normally, although I’ve never noticed them before.
Here they are, all lined up, chirping away! I can just imagine what they were saying! “Oooh! Roger, who switched the light off?” “Are the pubs open now?” “Crumbs! What happened?” “Hoi! Stop messing about!”
There were many birds more than in the photo, but I wanted to get a closeup.
It’s officially Spring! Even though we have four inches of snow this morning, the crows are building their nests, and I reckon they should know better than our weather forecasters! Crows start breeding early in the year and the recent spat of warmer weather must have stirred their blood.
By Walter Sigmund Wikipedia
I’ve seen several birds fluttering between the bare trees with strips of cloth and string, obviously for lining their nests, as yet, I haven’t spotted an actual nest. They usually make their constructions high in trees and occasionally utilise a bush. The birds lay between three and six eggs and incubate them for eighteen days the babies are fledged at thirty six days. By the middle of May, we should see the youngsters around the neighborhood.
I became more interested in crows several years ago when I read an article referring to their ability to recognise and remember human faces.
Crows harbor a grudge too, so be very careful not to annoy them, or you could easily end up in of Alfred Hitchock’s ‘The Birds’ situations with a flock of these guys remembering you, passing the information to their pals and then plotting for your demise.