Photo: Steve Landes
I heard the initial report while in my office and unable to escape. Immediately after work, I rushed home, grabbed some gear, and headed up to the egret. As fortune would have it, Steve Landes was there. In my lust to see the Reddish Egret, I ran afield with only the big lens bolted to the Canon, so Steve was kind enough to share this iPhone picture of the general habitat. Nothing unusual, but the waters hosted plenty of fish and other aquatic prey.
One clue for Reddish Egret is its feeding tactics. The animals often rush manically through the shallows, chasing and lunging after prey. Mantling the water with outstretched wings is a common practice - the sudden appearance of shade probably serves to spook fish, which the heron then darts after.
Congratulations and thanks to Steve Landes for the avian find of 2014. For the record, this is species #372 for my Ohio list. New state birds are few and far between these days. Ironically, my biggest Ohio nemesis species is the Tricolored Heron. We get a few of those every year. I'd not have thought that I would add Reddish Egret before that one.