Recent Reddish Egrets

Tom Edell

The recent sightings of Reddish Egret at multiple locations in the county suggest that up to three juveniles have been present. Although there are photos of all these birds, it is difficult to find features that clearly identify an individual bird. This is mostly due to lighting and distance when the photos were taken. So ignoring the photos available and looking strictly at date, time, and location it appears that at least three juveniles have been in the county between  11-15 Jul.


  1. The first Reddish Egret was found at Arroyo Grande Creek mouth (AGCM) on 11 Jul. This is presumably the same bird that was seen there on July 12, at both the AGCM and Pismo Creek mouth on 14 Jul, and is presumably the same bird found at San Luis Obispo Creek mouth in Avila on 15 Jul.
  2. One was found at San Geronimo Creek around 1050 AM on 13 Jul that moved to Cayucos Creek mouth and Little Cayucos Creek mouth where it remained for the rest of the day. It was present again at Cayucos Creek mouth the next morning and remained there through at least mid-day.
  3. Another was found at San Simeon Creek mouth around 3:30 PM on 13 Jul. Presumably the same bird was the one seen there around mid-morning on 15 Jul


These birds fit this species recent pattern of northward juvenile movement along the coast from Jul-Sep. San Luis Obispo County appears to be about as far north as most venture. It is presumed that these birds move north from Mexico after fledging and in previous years only one juvenile has reached the county, so three this year is unprecedented. The first county record involved a juvenile Al Schmierer found at Whale Rock Reservoir on 5 Sep 2003 that remained through 26 Oct.


Tom Edell

Cayucos, CA

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