Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds Beginning with the Letter “E”

Welcome to Week #38 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #38 challenge is birds that begin with the letter “E” in their name such as the European Starling or Great Egret.

Change in the weekly menu

NOTE: I’ve done a little rearranging of the themes for the next couple of weeks. I changed the monochrome (black & white | sepia) challenge to Week #40 to go in line with Cee’s Anything in Flight Black and White Challenge. See my Bird Weekly page for the changes. I am also taking the week of March 28th off, so no Bird Weekly on April 2nd. Frank and I will be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary that week and will likely be out birding since we are not getting on an airplane anytime soon.

The feature image is a Snowy Egret in breeding colors. You can tell by the pink color near the eye called the lore. The lore is the region between the eye and the bill on the side of a bird’s head. This one was nesting at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida.

Living on the east coast of the United States, gives me opportunity to share some “Eastern” varieties of birds. Lots of Egrets and other “E” birds for this week. I thought in honor of the “E” birds this week, I would mention to all my friends, bloggers and those who may be new to Bird Weekly about You put the E to the Bird and what do you get? Sounds like a jingle for a commercial. Okay, going off the deep end!

Before we plan our birding trips, we scour the many lists onΒ Ebird.orgΒ to see what has been seen and logged in recent days. If you don’t use Ebird and want to get out there and find them, I suggest using this site or download the app to your phone. The data you submit goes directly to CornellLab of Ornithology. Birds are logged by birders and scientist all over the world. It’s free and easy to set up an account.

I met an up and coming birder on our birding trip to the Viera Wetlands last Thursday. We were on the driving trail and pulled up next to her and she was looking for a Painted Bunting in some bushes. I wasn’t too optimistic and after some conversation, we moved on. A bit down the road, I got out of the car and started taking some photos. The woman pulled up and started talking again, asking all kinds of questions. She had captured a bird on her camera and needed help identifying. I was able to do to that quickly. She had just seen and photographed her first Eastern Phoebe. I thought to myself, “E” birds are coming up, but I have one in my yard so no need to backtrack. I did, however, tell her about and the blog. I hope she finds as much joy in her new found passion as we all have.

Great Egret

Great Egret in flight just taking off from the top of a tree.  You can't see the tree.

The Great Egret is a large white heron that breeds in colonies near lakes, rivers, swamps and oceans. They eat mostly fish, frogs and small mammals. In 1953, the Great Egret became the symbol of the national Audubon Society. Audubon was founded to protect the Great Egrets that was being driven to extinction from hunters killing them for their feathers to adorn the wealthy ladies’ hats.

Great Egret with a chick in the nest at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida.

Not all the eggs that hatch in a nest survive. Siblicide as it is known, is when the larger chick or chicks kill their smaller siblings. This type of aggressive behavior is common. Only the strong survive! There was only one chick in this nest getting fed. This pair was seen at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret with a stick in its beak, building a nest.

The Snowy Egret was another victim of the fashion industry when conservationist began their efforts to protect this species as well. The Snowy Egret is quite elegant and smaller than the Great Egret. It is very similar to the Little Egret from Europe. They are so similar that it takes an expert ornithologist to know the difference unless you are in the territory of where one would normally live. They are distinguishable only by the Little Egret’s dark gray eye lores, more black on the legs year-round and the head has two long head plums to only one with the Snowy Egret.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret looking for insects to eat.

The diet of a Cattle Egret is a little different than other egrets. It eats mostly large insects like grasshoppers, crickets and flies. Frogs, spiders and moths are also on the menu. Occasionally, they will eat crayfish, earthworm, snakes, nestling birds, eggs and fish. They follow large, grazing animals to pick the ticks off their backs. Guess they could be referred to as a Cattle Vacuum.

Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret dancing around looking for small fish to devour.

The Reddish Egret is the entertainer of all the egrets. They dance around acting like they are not going to eat you and bam! They are quite spastic with their movements while they open their wings, shadowing the water while in pursuit of small fish. There are two morphs to the Reddish Egret. A rare all white morph and the more common darker bluish and reddish morph as seen above. At adulthood, they have a pink bill with a black tip. Their behavior will stick out among other egrets and herons.

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee singing from a tree in St. Marks Wildlife Refuge.

This Eastern Towhee was singing loud and proud. We heard him and followed his song.

I wanted to share the sound I was hearing when we went in search of this Towhee. I found this clip on YouTube and decided to share it today.

Eastern Meadowlarks

Eastern Meadowlarks sitting on a fence in the conservation area in Viera, Florida.

There were over 40 Eastern Meadowlarks that flew in right where we were in this conservation area. They provided quite a show for a good 15 minutes before they got spooked by something, not us and flew off.

This male Eastern Meadowlark looked right at me as I took his picture.
You talkin’ to me?

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe came out looking for flying insects after a summer shower.

This Eastern Phoebe showed up last summer and was a sweet surprise to our quarantine situation. It was the first Eastern Phoebe to visit our yard and so far, as of today, it is still in the neighborhood. I saw him on the feeder branches yesterday. They don’t eat seed, rather they eat insects, especially flying insects. They are in the flycatcher family and can be easily mistaken by beginning birders for other birds with Flycatcher in their name. It had been raining and this phoebe came out right after a summer shower.

Eastern Bluebird

Curious Eastern Bluebird perched up on the branches above our bird feeders.

The Eastern Bluebirds don’t usually come to feeders, however our bluebirds spent a great deal of time perched on the feeder branches last year. You will increase your chances in luring them to the feeder with mealworms as they are meat eaters. We didn’t put mealworms out, but we have plenty of worms and grubs in our yard that kept them happy. It was a real treat to have them for several months. They have moved on, but hopefully they will be back in a couple of months.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle perched high in a tree at the dam in Ocklawaha, Florida.

Bald Eagles are opportunists. They will hunt for fish and small mammals, but they are more likely to steal already captured fish from an Osprey or smaller Hawk than to go fishing the hard way. They are the National bird of the United States and can be considered the most beautiful pirates in the sky, stealing from those more vulnerable than themselves. Politics!!!!

Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.

Next time…Week #39 – Birds that eat fish as their primary diet.

92 Comments on “Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds Beginning with the Letter “E”

    • Thanks! Oh Beth, you would get a kick out of watching them or one. Merritt Island, Black Point Drive. Almost every trip between Nov. & Mar., it is a guarantee. They are probably there year round but it is too hot for us to go down there any other time. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s amazing to see so many kinds of egrets, Lisa! Just read your post that you’ve made changes. I’ll do my best to post something. All bloggers deserve a little break!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Terri. We have quite a selection of them for sure. I have decided I need to take at least 3-4 weeks off throughout the year. Spring Break seemed like good time because we will be out birding. Christmas was the first one so I will probably do another one in August or September. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it should be Showy Egret rather than Snowy, Lisa πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ But they are such beautiful birds. We see them here sometimes too but I’ve never seen the reddish one. Great photos, hon!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. who knew E would be such a good letter for birds. I knew egrets would feature prominently, but I was happy to see the eagle as well…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jim. We saw and Eagle on our last trip to Merritt Island and I got some pics, but none of them were good enough to post this week. He was way up high in the tree. Higher than my lens extended. It was good to see though. πŸ™‚


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  5. Wonderful images of the Egrets and other birds this week, Lisa!
    I loved the chick!

    Our anniversary is the 27th or 28th! I always have to look it up. I hope you have a lovely celebration of your 4th! xx

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Thank you Cee. I had to hold a bunch of them back from last week’s White feathered birds. LOL! πŸ™‚ Practicing self-control. hahaha


      • Yes it is. You were my encouragement. I don’t know what happened to Granny Shot It, but when BOTD stopped, I milled around with the idea for several months and planned on how to do this from watching you. It’s a commitment for sure but I’m loving it. I’ve learned so much from birders around the world and now I can recognized birds in other countries if I ever get to travel to those places. If I don’t, then I’ve enjoyed everything other birders and photographers have seen. πŸ™‚


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    • Thanks Brian! I had to save some of them that I almost posted for white feathered birds and remember this week was “E” birds. LOL! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • I reckon overlaps are OK but then again I have so many bird photos I could add new ones no matter the topic πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, but I had these done and it certainly saved me some time last week when putting the post together. Plus I had plenty of white feathered birds. We are going birding tomorrow and I’m quite excited about it. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • We didn’t go. I ended up at the hospital emergency room getting a CT scan. They were checking for blood clots and I’m happy to report, there were none. We will have to try to go again next week – pending the weather. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow!!! I am glad all is OK. Take it easy though. I had guests over the past few days and the weather was not good for nature walks or birds or insects. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m got back on light duty exercises today now that I know I don’t have any clots. Will call tomorrow to get an appointment to orthopedic. Bummer no nature walks. I get it. I was disappointed to not going birding but I slept better last night. Peace of mind wins out. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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  13. We used to have a lot of cattle Egrets here, but in the past few years, I haven’t seen any. Instead, I’ve seen a lot more Herons, swans, and Canada geese. The Great Blue Herons roost near the rivers in trees. The sight of these huge birds nesting in trees is amazing. They are so big, they make the trees look small.

    Are the “Fs” next? I sure do have a lot of finches!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about the big birds roosting in the trees. It seems they would bend the branches more than they do. LOL! “F” birds are coming up in a few weeks. I’m going in alphabetical order. πŸ™‚


    • They don’t have to compare. We just like to see what you are seeing. No judging in this challenge. πŸ™‚


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  18. I just wanted to let you know that WE have your bluebirds. It might be the mealworms, but it could also be fresh grubs. The birds come and clean them up for us every year. Especially the Robins, but they haven’t arrived yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Robins are here. Started passing through about a month ago. They should be your way shortly. We still have bluebirds, but the ones in our neighborhood have moved on. I guess they cleaned out the yards. Summertime should kick-start them again. πŸ™‚


  19. Wow, fantastic bird photos Lisa! I love the Eastern Meadowlarks in particular – we don’t get them in the UK and I’ve never seen one elsewhere to my knowledge. I HAVE seen a lot of egrets but I’m often not sure which species I’m looking at so I’m glad you said that even some experts struggle with a couple of them. I believe I was once told that you can distinguish Cattle Egrets by their yellow legs and bill – is that correct?

    I hope to join the challenge in future weeks, depending on the theme πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sarah
      Thank you for visiting Bird Weekly and you are welcome anytime to visit and/or participate. Cattle Egrets are different than other egrets. They look different. Breeding adults have gold feathers on their head, breast and back plus the bill and legs are yellow. The nonbreeding has a yellow bill and black legs. It is distinguishable from other egrets, but can be misidentified by the Little Blue Heron juvenile that is all white with a bluish black bill and greenish legs. The head is almost shaped the same for those two birds. The Snowy and Little Egrets are the hardest to identify when in overlapping territory. The Great Egret is pretty distinguishable because of its size (larger) and is all over the UK. A great pair of binoculars are essential in this line of hobby! LOL! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for all that info Lisa – I’ll remember it I hope next time I see egrets πŸ™‚ Yes, we have Great Egrets on the Thames in West London sometimes which is great to see!

        Liked by 1 person

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