The Condor/24 (6)/The Snowy Egret in Los Angeles County, California

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The Condor, Volume 24, Issue 6 (1922)
The Snowy Egret in Los Angeles County, California
By Mrs. F. T. Bicknell

The Snowy Egret in Los Angeles County, California. — While studying shorebirds at Playa del Rey, September 25, 1922, Mesdames C. H. Hall, A.. J. Mix, and F. T. Bicknell, members of the Los Angeles Audubon Society, were fortunate in having a close and unobstructed view of a Snowy Egret (Egretta candidissima candidissima). It was on a sand bar in the lagoon in company with a small flock of Western Gulls. Mrs. Hall was the first to sight the bird.

Standing in a semi-meditative attitude among the Gulls, not over two hundred feet from shore, the Egret offered a perfect opportunity for study. With field glasses as aids, though not a necessity, its pure white plumage, size, movements, graceful poses and other identification marks were carefully noted. We also observed the uplifting of one slender black leg, the opening and closing of the yellow toes, the stretching of the beautiful white wing, the opening of the long slender ebony bill with its yellow base, and the sleepy blinking of the eyes which enhanced the yellow of the iris. An occasional light puff of the sea-breeze raised and ruffled the snowy feathers on the bird's head and back, giving a momentary semi-nuptial plumage effect.

The encroaching waters of the incoming tide moistened the sand under the Egret's feet, which it resented by moving a few paces nearer the indifferent Gulls. For fully twenty minutes we studied this beautiful and rare bird, when suddenly, alone and without warning, it took flight above the lagoon and disappeared among the sloughs of the adjoining marsh lands.

The larger, American Egret (Herodias egretta) is a regular winter visitant on the San Pedro tide lands and Seal Beach salt marshes and is often studied by the Audubon members. Reporting the event to Mr. L. E. Wyman, Ornithologist at the Los Angeles Museum, he suggested, since the Snowy Egret has so few records in this vicinity, that it was well worth mentioning. — Mrs. F. T. Bicknell, Los Angeles, California, October 2, 1922.