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Goliath Heron

Posted by Jeremy A 
Goliath Heron
June 17, 2020 10:10AM
At least big enough to be one, seen on Lades Marsh at 8am this morning

A very large heron, appeared slightly bigger than a cormorant. Black stripe on crown, heron shaped head and bill. Thick-ish neck and body. Off white feathers.
Re: Goliath Heron
June 17, 2020 11:24AM
"Appeared slightly bigger than a Cormorant"

For reference:
Cormorant - height 70-95 cm (28-37 in), wingspan 121-160 cm (48-63 in)
Grey Heron - height 84--102 cm (33--40 in), wingspan 155--195 cm (61--77 in)
Goliath Heron - height 120--152 cm (47--60 in), wingspan 185--230 cm (73--90.5 in)

Sounds like a pretty standard Grey Heron from your description. Not withstanding the fact that Goliath Heron is an African species!
Re: Goliath Heron
June 17, 2020 03:02PM
Hi Jonny,

Yes I can appreciate the scepticism, especially as I'm new to this. And it does sound like the cormorant comparison is off (in which case I'm wonder what the other large seabird was that I saw this morning, but that's another matter).

However, I'd be really surprised if this was a grey heron. I've been keenly watching grey herons on Lades Marsh for the past 3 months. This one looked very different. It was noticeably bigger, the feathers on the wing were lighter, not the grey I'm used to seeing, and it was generally thicker/plumper. It was also sitting on the grassy bit and stretching its wings, never seen a grey heron do that.

Couldn't find anything in my bird book, so then went to the vagrant section, closest match I could find but I'm not that confident. Happy to be corrected!

Re: Goliath Heron
June 17, 2020 03:50PM
We all make mistakes.
I once confidentally announced a Little Egret in the distance.
On closer inspection it turned out to be a white plastic bag.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 17/06/2020 03:53PM by Oz.
Re: Goliath Heron
June 17, 2020 04:09PM
Don't be put off, Jeremy, we've all found things we're convinced about but can't persuade others. It usually ends up that we were wrong, of course, but that goes with the territory. Birds don't read the right books - they look different, turn up in the wrong places at the wrong times. If you find the bird there again try to get a photo and pass it on for someone to look at. But don't be discouraged.

As for the goliath heron, I saw one once in The Gambia, just a few metres from the boat I was in - it was huge. Sitting down in the boat, it seemed to be towering over us. Stunning bird.

Jeff B
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