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Suzanne

What is this bird? Thank you for your help!

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Welcome...
I'm not entirely awake at the moment but my overall impression of the shape and size of this is saying great blue heron. Something about the head and how strong the markings look makes it feel photoshopped(not an accusation, it just looks odd.)  Could just be lighting. Or I may just need to go lie down. HA.

But shape and size, pattern and color all show me a great blue heron here.
I took too long to reply and was beaten... ha

Edited by millipede
no good reason

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43 minutes ago, lonestranger said:

I'm far from confident and have zero experience with them, but that bill looks short enough for one of the night herons. Is that a possibility?

It might look shorter because the head is facing slightly away from us.  The facial pattern eliminates both night-herons. 

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A few things that will always help on making an ID Suzanne is time and location of the photo.

Ok, for me the legs are to short for a Great-blue. The bill is to short and thick. This has to be a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. The white head and white cheek mark gives it away. The only odd thing is the leg color should be yellow and it seems grayish in the photo, but this could just be processing/exposure.

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21 minutes ago, The Bird Nuts said:

This is absolutely a Great Blue Heron.  The orange bill, white chin, black plumes, and black shoulder patch rule out YCNH.

Ok, yep, missed the fact of the shoulder patch, and this would explain the legs as well.

Agree GBH.

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2 hours ago, millipede said:

Welcome...
I'm not entirely awake at the moment but my overall impression of the shape and size of this is saying great blue heron. Something about the head and how strong the markings look makes it feel photoshopped(not an accusation, it just looks odd.)  Could just be lighting. Or I may just need to go lie down. HA.

But shape and size, pattern and color all show me a great blue heron here.
I took too long to reply and was beaten... ha

I think what you're seeing is the lighting, specifically the low angle.  Notice the long shadow to the left.  The bird is being lit by either a sunrise or sunset, so the facial markings are illuminated and reflecting at angles we don't see often.

Regardless, it's definitely a Great Blue Heron.

@Suzanne, welcome!  If you post again, please remember to include the date when and location where you saw the bird.  Great Blues are pretty distinctive but other species can often only be ID'ed by time or place.  Thanks!

 

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yeah, lighting and angles can really play with your mind. The contrast is so sharp on the head that it just looks out of place.
The bird is turned away from us and crouched down quite a bit, which they do, so that is likely where the confusion came for others as well. But thankfully the great blue is distinct enough and you can see enough features here to put it all together, even with the posture.
I will say that even in the field I have to look at these birds twice sometimes. Just a simple turn of the head or body changes everything sometimes.

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Location is in the tags - Virginia Beach.

Great Blues in 'hunched' position always throw me for an initial loop, hoping for a night heron.   We used to call them the 'tree stump' birds, because from a distance along marsh edge that's what they look like, until 10 minutes later you notice the 'stump' has moved 🙂

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9 minutes ago, Bee_ keeper said:

Location is in the tags

HA... I've seen people ask for that and have it be there the whole time like this before... Those tags are easy to overlook but it's good that we check there for vital info... Kind of makes you want to say DOH... 

11 minutes ago, Bee_ keeper said:

We used to call them the 'tree stump' birds, because from a distance along marsh edge that's what they look like, until 10 minutes later you notice the 'stump' has moved

That's funny... I've had more instances where I stared at stumps and branches because I thought they were birds. Saw one I was sure was a bittern once...  Stumps, rocks, and leaves in trees can fool an eye...  or how about a shopping bag in a field looking like a potential snowy owl...

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I almost never see them, and I'm the guy who wrote the suggestion to include them!  (I rarely include them either!)  I think my brain treats them like billboards and just visually ignores them.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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16 minutes ago, millipede said:

That's funny... I've had more instances where I stared at stumps and branches because I thought they were birds. Saw one I was sure was a bittern once...  Stumps, rocks, and leaves in trees can fool an eye... 

Oh yeah, I hear you.  I am one who puts the bins on every odd shape too.  I'll do it 99 times and the 100th time I won't and that will be the one that disappears.

20 minutes ago, millipede said:

..  or how about a shopping bag in a field looking like a potential snowy owl...

hahaha how many bag and styrofoam chunk owls and the like I've zoomed in on along the beach... some photos as well that get cropped at home with a good laugh.

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