Know Egrets…

According to the CT DEEP, the great egret is a large member of the heron family, with long legs, white plumage, and a slender body. Adults have black legs and feet. During the breeding season, the normally yellow bill may appear orange and long feather plumes (aigrettes) extend from the back to beyond the tail. Immature egrets and non-breeding adults have no plumes and the color of their bills and legs is duller. In flight, the great egret holds its neck in a more open S-shape than do other white herons. The species utters a loud, low-pitched, hoarse croak.

The snowy egret is a medium-sized, white heron with a slender, black bill, black legs and yellow feet. The area of the upper bill, in front of the eyes, is yellow but turns red during the breeding season. Showy, recurved plumes are present on the back during the breeding season. The snowy egret is much smaller than the great egret. n

Branford photographer Christine Chiocchio captured these two egrets enjoying the marsh near the BLT’s Jenny Vedder property along the Trolley Trail in Stony Creek. Can you tell which is which?