Friday, December 30, 2011
The snowy egret is a small white heron (Egretta thula). See Wikiepedia:Snowy Egret. I had never seen either a heron or an egret in Arizona during my childhood. The first heron I saw was on Saguaro Lake, east of Mesa, Arizona about 1985 or so. Since that time, both Great Blue Herons and smaller white egrets have become relatively common throughout the state. I have seen them up on the Colorado Plateau in swampy areas and they are frequent along the Salt River lakes and where the river is still running such as the area below Stewart Mountain Dam. They have been seen as far north as Maine and are common in Central America. Their relatives the cattle egrets (or cow birds) have spread around the world. This particular egret was in Florida.