Monday, May 31, 2010

Great Egret in Flight

Great Egret in breeding plumage, Ardea alba, Mission River Preserve. I never tire of looking at these stunningly beautiful birds. I particularly liked how the sun shone through the wings. When they are breeding, the straight plumes on the back of the egret extend down past the tail (you can see them streaming out back of the bird here).

Bird trivia. How do you tell a great egret from a snowy egret? Of course, a great egret is much bigger at around 38 inches in height versus 20-27 inches for a snowy egret. However, in a photo without a size reference, you can easily tell by the color of the beak and feet. Great egrets have yellow beaks and black feet. Snowy egrets have black beaks and yellow feet (and fluffy plumes on the head for mature birds).

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