Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2003-

Common name:

Reddish Egret

Scientific name: Egretta rufescens
Date: 3 Sep 2003
Time: 10:30 to10:50 AM
Length of time observed: 20 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Juvenile
Location: James Walter Fitzgerald WMA
County: Tooele
Distance to bird: 35 to 50 yards
Optical equipment: Bosch & Lomb Discoverer Spotting Scope, Kowa TSN-823 Spotting scope
Weather: Clear
Light Conditions: Good
Detailed description of bird: Head and neck were uniform grayish rust. Eye was yellow. Bill was dark gray becoming slightly lighter at the base. Legs were dark at the bottom becoming lighter at the top near the body. Back and wings were uniform smoky gray. Size was smaller than a Great Blue Heron and larger than a Snowy Egret..  [see photos]
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: The bird stood still for a while then picked up and dropped dead fish apparently not enclined to eat dead prey.  It flew to the other end other reservoir, where it displayed the typical feeding behavior of Reddish Egrets as described on page 56 of the Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America.
Habitat: Shallow water of reservoir
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
From Great Blue Heron because it lack the dark cap and bi-colored bill and was smaller than a Great Blue Heron.
From Tricolored Heron because it lack the yellow legs and bill of the Tricolored Heron.
From Little Blue Heron by leg and bill color.
From the above three herons by the typical foraging behavior which it displayed. [see photo C]
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
A similar bird on August 16 of this year at Gunlock Reservoir.  Adult Reddish Egrets in Texas.
References consulted: Sibley's and Kauffmann's  field guides.
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Merrill Webb and Milton Moody
Observer's address: 1063 East 400 North, Orem; 2795 Indian Hills Drive, Provo, Utah
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: none (yet)
Date prepared: 3 Sep  2003
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: