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Not the Brightest Bulb on the Chirstmas Tree

November 8, 2011
Immature Little Blue Heron

© jmillerphoto.com - Immature Little Blue Heron

My birding life list increased to 118 this morning.  No, it is not because I’ve been out birding.  I’d kill to have that opportunity after being off my feet (more or less) for the last few days.

No, this is addition is a bird that I saw back in August that I just now had the opportunity to identify correctly.  Thank goodness for photographs.

I will openly admit that I am not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree when it comes to bird identification.  I’m better than I used to be.  I took an awesome class at Angelo State University as part of their Adult Education series a couple of years (with Delbert Tarter instructing) in hopes of becoming more familiar with the birds of the Concho Valley region.  And then almost immediately after attending I was selected by my employer to go do my Master’s degree and lost all of the momentum towards refining this skill.

Mr. Tarter completed his earthly duties a few weeks ago, but what he taught me is alive inside of me when I go out to make images.  Look at the bill.  The bill tells you what it eats.  Look at the coloration of the feathers.  And so on.

I knew when I saw this thing back in August that it was a heron or an egret.  The bill was definitely a fish-hunting weapon.  But the coloration had me confused.  I knew without a doubt that it was a first year bird because it didn’t match any of the adult heron or egret images I could find.  But I was convinced that it was a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias).

Then I was doing some research online this morning (okay…my wife would call it looking at pictures…I’m calling it research) and I saw an image very similar to mine in a nature photography forum.  And it was labeled Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea).  It is at this point that I muttered a equine vulgarity and started digging again.  Sure enough… Immature Little Blue Heron.

So the mystery is solved and the count is up one more today.  It scares me what the number might be if I went through all of my images.  Hey, maybe I need to do more research…

About the Image:

Striking coloration in the Little Blue Heron.  Won’t forget that one any time soon.  This image was made at the aptly named Bird Pond at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2011 1:13 pm

    Congrats on adding one more to your life list. 🙂

    • November 8, 2011 1:54 pm

      Thanks, Bob. I’ll catch up to your number one of these days 🙂

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