Egret and Herons

Here are some shots of an Egret and some Herons I captured on my last birding walk.  Egrets and Herons are carnivorous birds both belonging to the Ardeidae family.  Their beautiful plumage has made these birds popular in the fashion trade in the past.  It also makes them fascinating birds to observe and photograph.

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)

Looking for breakfast.

Keeping a wary eye out for the birding paparazzi.

Hey!  You!  Put that camera away.

Great Blue Heron braving the wind.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Backyard Birding – Egrets

“Daddy! Daddy!  Come quick!”

My six-year-old daughter bounced up and down, beckoning me to the sliding glass door at the back of the house.  This is what she saw.  I told her she is becoming a very good birder.

Two Western Cattle Egrets soaring over the pond.

Western Cattle Egrets

Great Egret and Cattle Egrets and a third coming in for a landing.

Great Egret and Western Cattle Egrets

Great Egret

First Bird of 2011

What was your first bird this year?  For me it was a Turkey Vulture hovering overhead as part of a group of Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures.  That is not very surprising as Turkey Vultures are a very common sight in Florida.  I am writing this post on the second morning of the new year, and so far this year I have identified five different bird species.  In addition to the two vultures I saw a Great Egret, Western Cattle Egrets and a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  I am still waiting to see what my first new species will be.

I set a goal for myself to see and identify 200 different bird species in 2011.  I started birding in late 2010 and was able to identify 45 different birds.  So if I am going to reach my goal I’ll need to see 155 new types of birds.  Even in a place like South Florida, I think this will be quite a challenge.  I’ll be tracking my progress here on this blog on the Year List page.

So how about you?  What was your first bird?  Perhaps you haven’t identified one yet.  Do you have any birding goals for 2011?  Perhaps you are also tracking your 2011 birds on your blog?  Or maybe you have some tips for us novice birders.  Let us know in the comments below.

Western Cattle Egret

Western Cattle Egret

Western Cattle Egrets are a common sight along South Florida Highways  Today one decided to wait for me on top of my car.  This western variety of the Cattle Egret is found throughout the Americas and is a year round resident in Florida.  Also know as Cow Birds, Cattle Egrets are beneficial to large mammals, such as cows, as they help control pests and parasites.