Birds of Bear River MBR – Snowy Egrets

Recently I spent two days in a row photographing birds at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (aka Bear River National Wildlife Refuge) in northern Utah and found plenty of birds to aim my lens at. Going to the refuge means getting up at o’dark hundred and leaving by shortly after 5 am to get there as the sun comes up but it is worth the trip. I even saw the partial eclipse of the moon.

Snowy Egret about to landSnowy Egret about to land – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Snow Egrets (Egretta thula) are numerous in the refuge during spring, summer and fall, yesterday there were large numbers of them on the west side of the auto tour loop fishing in a drainage canal along with Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons and White-faced Ibis.

I photographed the Snowy Egret above as it prepared to land, the lovely green of cattails and golden tones of last years phragmites made for a beautiful background. This egret shows a touch of the peachy-pink lores typical of this species during breeding season in front of the eye.

Snowy Egret in a drainage canalSnowy Egret in a drainage canal – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 400, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 350mm, natural light

I wasn’t able to figure out what all the birds were hunting for but I was more than glad to take advantage of the opportunity to get images of them. While I found Snowy Egrets fairly easy to approach in Florida they aren’t as approachable here in Utah so I am always happy to see and photograph them when I get the chance.

Snowy Egret fishing in a small retention pondSnowy Egret fishing in a small retention pond – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/3000, ISO 800, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I photographed the Snowy Egret above in the early part of May. I loved how well it shows the plumes on the back and how the occipital plumes are raised. There were quite a few Snowy Egrets and one Great Egret fishing in the pond that morning.

Snowy Egret in flightSnowy Egret in flight – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/3200, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I  never know exactly where I will find Snowy Egrets on the refuge but usually if you find one there are several more nearby. This egret flew past me with the golden tips of last years phragmites and the distant mountains in the background. It sure shows those “Golden Slippers” off! It shouldn’t be long before we start seeing their young hunting along with the adults in the marshy areas of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.

Mia

20 Comments

  1. Jim Braswell June 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Excellent!

  2. Elijah Goodwin June 6, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Nice images Mia. Looks like a fun place.

    • Mia McPherson June 10, 2012 at 6:36 am

      Elijah, Bear River MBR is a fun place and there are SO many birds. Thanks.

  3. Linda Rockwell June 5, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Wonderful photos Mia! It’s difficult to get really excellent images of white birds, but these are outstanding. Looks as if you had a lovely day. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson June 10, 2012 at 6:35 am

      Linda, I did have a lovely day! Thank you for commenting.

  4. Susan June 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Beautiful captures, I don’t know about you, but I love getting up at o’dark, it is so peaceful then, and sight of this bird alone would be well worth it.

    • Mia McPherson June 10, 2012 at 6:35 am

      Susan, I love the early morning hours because it is so peaceful and I can relax and just enjoy it. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Carol Mattingly June 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Very nicely done Mia. You rocked on these images. Carol

    • Mia McPherson June 10, 2012 at 6:34 am

      Thanks Carol, I was at the right place at the right time.

  6. Syl June 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    What fabulous shots..great job..

    • Mia McPherson June 10, 2012 at 6:33 am

      Thanks so much for your comment Syl.

  7. Laurence Butler June 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Very lovely with their yellow slippers

    • Mia McPherson June 10, 2012 at 6:33 am

      Thank you Laurence, I love those golden slippers.

  8. Scott (@NESASK) June 5, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Wow!Those are beautiful birds. Fantastic captures, Mia.

  9. Azstu June 5, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I love the contrast of their white color against the environments they find themselves in. Great photos.

    • Mia McPherson June 10, 2012 at 6:32 am

      Thanks Stu, they do contrast well from their habitats.

  10. Julie G. June 5, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Snowy Egrets are especially lovely birds and you captured them so beautifully! My favorite is the egret fishing in the retention pond, but all your images are fantastic. Glorious sights!

    • Mia McPherson June 10, 2012 at 6:30 am

      Thanks Julie, I hope to see many more Snowy Egrets while they are here this season.

Comments are closed.