I am definitely seeing dusky blue coloration in the tips of the wings in both of Matt’s photos (ML68686611 and ML68686621). That was the first thing that tipped me off to the possibility that the bird was a Little Blue Heron. When I reviewed photos of Swinhoe’s Egret online earlier this evening I couldn’t find any photos that showed dusky blue coloration in the wings. In addition, Swinhoe’s Egret generally has a crest.
From: <obol-bounce...> [mailto:<obol-bounce...>] On Behalf Of Jeff Gilligan
Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 10:07 PM
Cc: OBOL Birders Online
Subject: [obol] Re: Malheur Narrows Egrets
Looking at the bird labeled Cattle Egret again, I think it does have dusky tips to the wings…Correct? Maybe there are two Little Blue Herons there.
On Sep 12, 2017, at 9:22 AM, Matt Cahill <matt.c.cahill...> wrote:
I went and watched the herons and egrets at the Narrows yesterday afternoon for about an hour. All of the suspect birds were in attendance - the snowy egret was in the eastern pond, the cattle egret / little blue were in the small pond between the road sections.
As many have surmised, it's a surprisingly difficult ID on those two small egrets-herons. There's plenty of photos and comments on plumage already. I'd add to the discussion, the 'personalities' of the two birds were quite different. The suspect little blue behaved much more cautiously than the cattle egret, moving more slowly around the pond and watching the water with it's neck extended for long periods of time. The cattle egret arrived after I did, and immediately set forth hunting the pond, covering the same shoreline as the little blue in a fraction of the time. I watched it aggressively chase the little blue several times, and bully it for a fish meal.
Not that individuals of the same species can't have different personalities, nor to deny the subjectivity involved, but those 'personalities' matched my expectations for both birds. I spent lots of hours in the Florida Keys watching little blues and they always appeared coy and bookish. And cattle egrets, well they can sure seem like bullies to me.