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Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Cattle Egret in Hamlin

Published November 05, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, Cattle Egret, Hamlin, NY

I drove out to Hamlin, NY today to try to find the Cattle Egret that was reported out there. Actually, I went there yesterday afternoon and didn't have any luck, so I tried again this morning. Bingo! This time, the little guy was out in a pasture amongst some livestock and was very easy to find.

Today's life bird was much smaller than I had pictured. I knew he was smaller than a Great Egret, but I didn't picture Cattle Egrets to be quite THIS small.  Apparently, they can get up to about 20 inches, while a Great Egret nearly 40 inches.

During breeding season, the Cattle Egret has a light wash of peachy coloring on its crown, breast, and back. Unfortunately, only one photo seems to indicate a little of that left on its crown, but otherwise, the egret was totally white.

This egret appeared quite comfortable poking around in the grass amongst all the cattle.  I was nervous for it, thinking it would be so easy for one of those large bovines to roll over on it or step on it. I didn't see this today, but Cattle Egrets are known to perch on the back of livestock!

An interesting fact is that a Cattle Egret foraging for insects on its own doesn't do nearly as well as it does when following livestock around.  The large animals disturb the insects, making it easy for the egret to find and eat them. They're even known to hang around roadsides and airports waiting for cars and planes to blow insects out of the grass!

After the egret, I went over to Hamlin Beach seeking the Ross's Geese that were seen there yesterday. No luck there, but I did get a nice diversity of ducks on the lake along with a couple of flyovers of Snow Buntings and a young Bald Eagle.  What a gorgeous morning to enjoy the lake!
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Cattle Egret amongst some livestock
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Cattle Egret
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Cattle Egret - MAYBE a hint of that buffy peachy color on its crown
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Cattle Egret poking around for insects
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Red-breasted Merganser
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Common Goldeneye
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Horned Grebe
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Snow Buntings flying overhead
Reply from: Tim on 11/5/2013 8:16 PM
 Wow very cool little egret Sue congrats on yet another life bird!
Reply from: KarineThoresen@yahoo.com on 7/28/2016 3:51 PM
 I love this photo, and I was wondering if you would give me permission to paint it.