June 2002 Mystery Bird

This turned into a more interesting exercise than I expected. Little Blue Herons and Reddish Egrets can look more alike than many people realize. I believe the mystery photo is a Little Blue Heron. There were in fact two different Reddish Egrets as well as this Little Blue Heron at the mouth of the San Diego River in January. Photos of the two Reddish Egrets can be found here and here. Neither one look like full adults to me. Even the darkest immature Reddish Egret shows pinkish at the base of the bill. This Little Blue Heron has no visible pink. Also I'd like to add that the plum-color to the neck of the Little Blue stops short of the base of the neck where it contrasts with the slate-blue color. This distribution of color and contrast seems typical of Little Blue and I have not seen it on Reddish Egret.

Comments were thoughtful and helpful and I appreciate them very much.

This heron was photographed in San Diego in January 2002. What species is it? To view public comments or join the fray by adding your opinion, click here. Have fun!

Photo © 2002 David Furseth.
All rights reserved.

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