The Great (Dirty Whitish) Blue Heron, 10 July 2011

Ardea herodias (occidentalis), the Great blue heron (dirty white form);
Monroe county, Florida (10 July 2011).

When you’re in the Florida Keys, you may stumble across a Great blue heron that, though still great, ain’t quite that blue. That’s because many Great blue herons ranging in the Florida Keys are actually a white-morph form: The “Great white heron.” Some folks consider these Great white herons to be an entirely separate subspecies: Ardea herodias occidentalis. Personally, I don’t put too much stock in subspecies differentiations at this point. Even if I did, I’m not exactly up to speed on the data about this particular species and its respective subspecies classifications. Finally, the individual featured here was a half-n-half, if you will… Though it lacked the blue head plumage typical on Great blue herons further to the north in my home territory of central Florida, it still had a bit of a faded blue dorsal tone. Given its size, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a kid. Anyhow, issues of subspeciation aside, I found this particular heron to be an absolute visual delight. A lovely and understated beauty backdropped by that fantastic Keysian water. Not a bad way to scratch out a living on this raging marble we call Earth, right?

Ardea herodias, 10 July 2011). (1)

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