939Stange Heron in Newport Upper Bay
- Jun 2, 2003Toady Monday, June 2), at about 3:10 PM I routinely checked out the group
of about 9 Great Blue Herons which daily stand sentry duty on the
boomerang-shaped island below and across the bay from Castaways Park. The
distance from my viewing position at Castaways to the herons was about
250-350 yards. I observed them through zoom binoculars set to the maximum
power of 20+.
But today there was a newcomer. It appeared to be somewhat smaller and more
slender than the nearby Great Blues, but nowhere near as small as a Snowy
Egret. I first noticed it because, several times when it got too close to a
Great Blue, it would be chased away. Its body plumage and folded overwing
were both the same uniform gray color, somewhat lighter than the nearby
Great Blues. But the most striking thing was that its long neck and head
were both a uniform whitish color, with no observable head markings or plumes.
At one point it flapped its wings, giving me a view of the underwing, which
was uniformly darker gray than the body, with no distinctive markings. I
could not see the bill clearly, but it appeared to be dark. The closest
plumage match I could find to the bird in my field guides was Wurdeman's
Heron, which is an intermediate morph of the Great Blue, but that bird only
appears in southern Florida.
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DW Emory <danemory@...>