Great EgretAugust 2006

From a long ways away, Sue spotted what she first considered to be four great blue herons high up in a tree. Upon our further examination, we decided that the birds were too white. Were they egrets?  
4 great egrets

As we walked closer toward the Toftrees pond, it became evident that they were indeed great egrets. They were the first we have seen in the neighborhood (as we approach our two-year anniversary of living at Cooper's Pond, State College, Pennsylvania).
2 great egrets
  Aside from the sheer size of the great egret, identifying marks include a yellow bill and black legs.
Great egret preening
  If you have long legs and long toes, scratching is very convenient.
Great egret scratching
  A pair of great blue herons flew toward the tree. I guess they weren't too familiar with great egrets either.
Great blue heron and great egret
  The nearby heron occasionally extended his neck all the way to study the egrets, and one of the egrets studied the heron. Then both species got involved in detailed preening.

Photo note: I used a Pentax *ist D, with the SMC 1000mm reflex lens.

My Pennsylvania bird list   ||   Great egret in flight   ||   Great blue heron 1

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