I spent yesterday photographing birds at Merritt Isl NWR. I will post them, but first I have 2 ID questions. Is this an immature Great Blue Heron? I've never before seen such a brown (rust) neck. At first I thought it was an immature reddish heron, but the legs are the wrong color, and its larger than the tricolor herons.
Happy Birthday bsharf! Glad you spent it on the Refuge.
#1 is a Tricolored Heron. It's often difficult to judge size of birds without a point of reference...other birds of known size nearby etc.
#2 is a ♂ Anhinga-probably as you said- a juvenile-so has not yet reached full adult color. That silver-white area on the upper wings always looks brighter on ♂ birds-may just be the contrast with the black. He's perched on a white mangrove-one of the three mangrove species in North America-all three easily seen on the Refuge...guessing you were on the Black Point Wildlife Drive.
I lead beginner-birding trips on the Drive every Thursday until the end of March. Be happy to take you along on the 3-hour tour (maybe we'll see Gilligan). Should be able to get you positive IDs on 50-70 bird species plus maybe 'Gators, Otters, Feral Hogs and more.
Call Nancy Corona at the MINWR to sign up. (321) 861-0668
As Old Ned stated, point of reference helps a lot. I encountered my first Tri-colored Heron here in Maryland earlier this year. Just looking at the Tri-colored Heron by itself didn't reflect the significant difference in size. Only after I looked at some of my photos did I note the big difference.
Here is a photo, at some distance, of a Great Blue Heron and a Tri-colored Heron.
Thanks everyone. Maybe I'll see you someday on your birding tour, Old Ned. Took a second to get the Gilligan reference. At first I thought that you meant a super expert birder named Gilligan, who was on your tour some times. Love the heron, egret photo. I was very excited to get 3 first time species photos.
Did you read that article? Unless my fever is higher than I think, it stated 7 ft. I thought this is not a bird I want to see up close ... I'm a chicken when it comes to birds and for some reason they like me. BUT if they had been 7 ft I would have like to have see them from a distance.
"Size varies among the different races of Sandhill Cranes. A male of the race G. c. canadensis, or the Lesser Sandhill Crane averages 3.34 kg (7.4 lbs), 98 cm (39 in) in length and has a wingspan of 1.6 m (5.3 ft). A male of the race G. c. tabida or the Greater Sandhill Crane averages 5 kg (11 lbs), 119 cm (47 in) in length and has a wingspan of 2.12 m (7 ft). Both sexes look alike."