Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Great White Heron

Erika and I are back from a month's sojourn to Florida.  Although we enjoyed a respite from cold and snowy Minnesota, February Florida birding proved to be disappointing. Many Florida specialties were ensconced even further south in the Caribbean. We definitely enjoyed 83 degree days for two weeks in Key West.  The trip's high-point was a visit to the Dry Tortugas, and I will soon post a report. Those interested in a complete list of the birds we listed can click on the 2011 Birding tab above this post.

I only added two birds to my life-list.  One was a Roseate Tern, the first bird I identified by comparing calls between the birds and my cell phone.  The other is a semi-species: the Great White Heron (in the photo above).  Currently this large-billed, yellow-legged heron is considered to be a color phase of a Great Blue Heron.  The situation is confusing.  Intermediates with white heads occur in south Florida  (called Wurdemann's Herons). Studies suggest significant behavioral differences between white and dark birds.  We may yet see the Great White Heron, elevated to species status. Great White Herons are found on some Caribbean islands, but are mostly restricted to the Florida Keys in the United States.

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