Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2003-30b

Common name:

Reddish Egret

Scientific name: Egretta rufescens
Date: 16 Aug 2003; 1 Sep 2003 (MW); 8 Sep 2003 (MW)
Time: 6:30 to 7:15 PM
Length of time observed: 45 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Juvenile
Location: Gunlock Reservoir
County: Washington
Distance to bird: 200 to 300 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 a light rust color.  Back was grayish.  Dark legs and feet. Bill was all dark.  Smaller than a Great Blue Heron but larger than a Snowy Egret.  [see photos]
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: Foraging along the edge of the reservoir.  Occasionally it would half spread its wings and lunge about trying to catch fish.
Habitat: Edge of the lake.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
It wasn't a Great Blue Heron because the bill was all dark and it lacked any white in the head.  It wasn't a Tricolored Heron because there wasn't any white on the belly. It wasn't a Little Blue Heron because the legs and bill were all dark.  Its behavior was typical of  the behavior of a Reddish Egret described by many field guides and not of any of the above.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Only in Texas with adults.
References consulted: Sibley's and National Geographic Society field guides.
Description from: Memory
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: Larry Tripp saw the bird two days before we did and reported it on the internet.  Many others saw the bird within two to three days of the first sighting including: Dana Green, Bruce Robinson, Pomera Fronce, Julie VanMoorhem, Alton Thyrgerson, Glenn Barlow and Reed Stone
Date prepared: 26 Aug 2003
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: