Albuquerque bird nerds have been converging on the Rio Grande Nature Center the last few days to see a relatively rare (at least for these parts) little blue heron.
You’ll have to take my word for it, but he’s the blurry guy I snapped in this cell phone picture on my lunch hour today. A native of the Texas gulf coast and points east, he’s a relative of the much more common great blue heron, which you see frequently on and near the Rio Grande. About half the size of the great blue, the little blue heron was sitting today on the eastern edge of the Nature Center’s visitor’s center pond.
According to the reports on the rare bird email list, he was first spotted Tuesday. He appears to be the first little blue ever reported to eBird, the Cornell-Audubon bird sightings database, but I’m checking with the rare bird folks to get further information about previous sightings here.
Independent of the “oh wow, a rare bird” factor, he’s also gorgeous, a beautiful slate gray with an elegant rusty-red color to his neck.