Great Egret

Great Egret, Ardea alba, fishing in Ross River
Gotcha! Great Egret, Ardea alba, fishing in Ross River

The nearest part of Ross River is only two blocks from home and a bike path and a strip of parkland extend several kilometres both upstream and downstream so it’s always good for a walk with a friend and/or a camera.

Waterbirds are common along the river banks. This Great Egret flew in from the direction of Mount Stuart to land in the shallows for a spot of fishing before dark. You can call it either a Great Egret, Ardea alba modesta, or an Eastern Great Egret, Ardea modesta, depending on which authority you prefer to accept. Either way, it is the largest of the four (sub)species and is found from Australasia through SE Asia to India, while the others are found in Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Great Egret, Ardea alba, in Ross River shallows
Ready to try again.

We have several smaller species of egret: Cattle, Reef, Little and Intermediate. All are slim white wading birds but only the Intermediate is large enough to be readily confused with the Great, which stands nearly a metre tall. They often do stand tall, too, e.g. here is my egret looking around before starting to hunt.

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