Here is a large heron standing in the open, making no attempt to conceal itself or its identity. The stumbling block is the light; warm light from a low sun can play havoc with perceptions of colour and tone. Indeed, the warm light on this heron gives a strong impression that it is brown bird, with warm, buff underparts, making it look somewhat like a juvenile Purple Heron. But, the face is unstriped, the crown extensively dark. The crown is also quite rounded, leading to a thick-set, dagger-shaped bill. Purple Herons are skinnier birds, with the long, straight, narrow bill looking more an extension of the head shape. Mentally remove the warm light and the bird becomes grey with grey-and-white underparts. This is an immature Grey Heron.
KEY FEATURES Small head and large body implies a large heron Overall grey plumage, bathed in deceptive orange light Grey face with dark crown Rounded head and thick base to bill