Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Mystery bird] Reddish egret, Egretta rufescens, photographed at Sportsman’s Road, Galveston, Texas. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow]

Image: Joseph Kennedy, 5 September 2008 [larger view].

Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/1250s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400.


  1. #1 Bob O'H
    September 13, 2008

    Well, it’s not a sparrow. I can tell you that for free.

  2. #2 Dale
    September 13, 2008

    A Blue Tit. Not really, I just like the name.

  3. #3 W
    September 13, 2008

    Blue Heron?

  4. #4 Jim Greaves
    September 13, 2008

    Little Blue Heron; bill too small for Reddish Egret?

  5. #5 greg laden
    September 13, 2008

    Although it looks blue, that is only because it is sad. It is a reddish egret.

  6. #6 Bill Voss
    September 13, 2008

    Reddish Egret because of the shaggy, reddish neck feathers, but all that white is a bit confusing. Is it some kind of cross with the white morph of this species? I’ve seen Reddish Egrets on South Padre Island, but only a couple of times, and I don’t remember the white, and I can’t find any other pictures like this in my field guides.

  7. #7 Hilary
    September 13, 2008

    Looks like a Reddish Egret, though I’m not sure where it came by that much (or that little) white. I thought Tricolored Heron at first, but the beak is way too short for that.

  8. #8 Bing McGhandi
    September 13, 2008

    Photo taken in Galveston, eh?

    A hurricane assisted Ostrich.


  9. #9 Selasphorus
    September 13, 2008

    Reddish Egret, but…what’s with the white?

  10. #10 JohnB
    September 13, 2008

    Reddish Egret, moulting from immature (white) plumage to adult plumage.

  11. #11 Sheri Williamson
    September 13, 2008

    Ooh! Ooh! I think I know this one. Is it a Reddish x Great Egret?

  12. #12 JohnB
    September 13, 2008

    I was confusing the white plumage for the immature plumage of the Little Blue. Maybe a cross between a white morph and dark morph Reddish Egret?

  13. #13 greg laden
    September 13, 2008

    I don’t think it has to be a cross. If there are (and there are) white morph reddish egrets, this could just be a reddish egret with a few extra white feathers and the wind to its back.

  14. #14 Luger Otter Robinson (I'm starting to like my new name)
    September 14, 2008

    A seagull? Yes, I know it isn’t, but calling anything a seagull really irritates “birders”, who insist that there is no such thing as a seagull. There are arctic gulls, ivory gulls, etc, but no seagulls.

  15. #15 bobk
    September 14, 2008

    Reddish Egret (dark morph) X Little Blue Heron.
    The literature says the Reddish is either dark or white all its life with “few intermediates” and does not molt between colors. This bird shows the stark contrast of molting feathers similar to the Little Blue. I don’t think an albino Reddish would look this way. It is mature based on the shaggy reddish neck. But it has the dark bill of a mature Little Blue instead of bicolored bill of a mature Reddish.

  16. #16 Smilodon
    September 14, 2008

    It’s an adult Reddish Egret with both white and dark feathers. The bill and legs look too dark to indicate Little Blue Heron genes.

  17. #17 Sheri Williamson
    September 15, 2008

    The uniform bill color and long Great-like back plumes were throwing me off. Guess it’s been too long since I’ve spent time with Reddish. I guess we can attribute the white feathers to partial albinism (or whatever we’re calling that condition these days).

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