ID this pair of birds

I saw two large white waders on the marshes this morning, I would say they were at least twice the size of a Little Egret but were very similar apart from that. They were a long way for my 400mm and these images are well cropped but can anyone ID them for me?

large white bird-13 large white bird-12 large white bird-11 (there's a Lapwing in this one which gives an idea how big they are) large white bird-9 large white bird-8

  • I did say in my original post!

    "I would say they were at least twice the size of a Little Egret"

    There is a Lapwing in one photo which is nearer but which is dwarfed by the pair which are not even standing.

  • In reply to Mart:

    I had to join this Group to comment even though it's not my patch. Despite what you say about the size I agree with Bob that they look like bog standard Little Egrets, eg black bills. Another comparison you can make is with the Rooks on the water trough which are behind. They don't look out of proportion to me. What were you thinking they might be Great White Egrets? They have yellow bills.

    Unfortunately, you've blocked access to your Flickr images so can't enlarge the photos to take a closer look.

    Here's a picture that I took of a Little Egret standing amongst Lapwings. It dwarfs them too. Size can be difficult to judge from a distance. However, I'm happy to be proved wrong if anyone else thinks differently.

    Incidentally, if you ever want to widen the response beyond the group you can always use the Identify This forum in the main Community. We see everything that is posted.



    My Flickr Photostream 

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    Thanks TJ, I'll bear that in mind!

    I have seen and photographed many little egrets and I am/was convinced these two were not the same, in fact at one time there was a little egret quite close to them in the water for comparison!  When I first saw them I thought they might be swans, anyway I'm going back tomorrow morning and hopefully they will still be in the vicinity and maybe a bit closer in which case I might get a better shot!

  • In reply to Mart:

    Certainly look like Little Egrets to me.


    Group Leader

    South East Essex RSPB Local Group

    Graham, Group Leader, South East Essex RSPB Local Group

  • In reply to Graham Mee:

    I went back this morning at 08:00 but there was no sign although I did see 2 little egrets!!

    I thought the two from yesterday were a pair as they were preening each other!

    Another bird watcher came past yesterday and he was as baffled as I am, unfortunately I don't know him.

    Ah well, if they really were something unusual I'm sure they will be spotted elsewhere.

    (At 8am I had to park outside as the gates were locked! what time is the car park open? it was still locked at 8:45 or thereabouts)

  • In reply to Mart:

    Hi Mart, The gates at West Canvey Marsh and Wat Tyler Country Park both open at 9am.


    Leila - RSPB South Essex Campaigns and Community Officer