Summering in Maine

These are two birds that visit the New England area all the way up into Maine. I took these photographs while on a visit with family in Maine, topped off with lunch at a local brewpub of course!

The Snowy Egret is a medium sized wader that is probably the most elegant of the wading birds we have here. Their breeding plumes are striking and were so popular for ladies hats that Snowy Egrets were nearly wiped out until they were protected in the early 1900s. Now their greatest threat is habitat loss as the wetlands that they depend on for food are shrinking. They are easily identified by size since Great Egrets, also white, are much larger. They a black bill and yellow feet while the Great Egret has the opposite pattern. Juvenile Little Blue Herons are all white and you need to look more closely to be sure which one you have but we seldom, if ever, get the two together up north. They are active hunters and will stir up schools of minnows to get a chance to grab some. These photos show the plumes, black beak and yellow feet.

Another summer visitor is the Glossy Ibis. They are found anywhere that is wet, including wet farm fields. Their beak is unmistakable. They seem to be a bland dark color but you can see some of their actual color in these pictures. They are even more colorful than these photographs depict. They can have a wide range of colors in the right lighting conditions. I believe it is the only Ibis that is somewhat common here in New England. There was a White Ibis spotted near Boston in April that caused quite a stir since it was about 1000 miles north of it’s usual home.

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