Cattle Egret, Too

Though seeing the Sand Hill Cranes was the highlight of our trip to Merced National Wildlife Refuge, I was delighted that I got to photograph a Cattle Egret for the first time.

In the distance, they look like Snowy Egret, but up close are quite distinct.

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Closer in size to the Snowy Egret than the Great Egret, they look like a Great Egret

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with a shorter, stockier neck.

Even the orange beak

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and black legs

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are similar to the Great Egret.

When they take flight, they are “egret”

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head tucked in, legs straight back; I’d be hard pressed to distinguish them from other egrets, which makes me wonder if I haven’t seen them before but just didn’t recognize them as Cattle Egret.

It’s probably silly to be so excited over a “first,” particularly when it isn’t as “beautiful” as a closely related bird, but seeing the Cattle Egret made a special day even more special.

What do you think?