Dancing dark morph Reddish EgretDancing dark morph Reddish Egret – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 300mm, natural light

These two Reddish Egrets; a dark and a white morph, were photographed on the same day at Fort De Soto’s north beach in May of 2009 and both of them were showing signs of being in breeding plumage. This dark morph wasn’t quite in full breeding plumage because the bill would be pinker and the lores a deeper blue if it were but it was close. Dark morphs are far more common than white morphs and I felt lucky to photograph both morphs on the same day.

I photographed this Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) in a tidal lagoon while sitting in the water as the bird danced around me on the hunt for prey. My Nikkor 80-400mm VR was off being repaired so that day I was using my Nikkor 70-300mm VR for all the bird images I took. This egret was so busy hunting that it paid me no mind at all as it rushed around the lagoon. There were a few times I thought the bird was going to run right into me.

I like the bird’s pose, eye contact and the action this image conveys as well as how it shows the water, shore, wrack line and the sand dune in the background.

Hunting white morph Reddish EgretHunting white morph Reddish Egret – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 250mm, natural light

This white morph Reddish Egret was busy hunting in the Gulf of Mexico when I photographed it. It’s lores are a deep purplish blue and the black-tipped bill is very pink. I was sitting on the sand of the shoreline as the egret raced around trying to catch prey where the waves broke and like the dark morph, this bird all but ignored my presence.

Reddish Egrets are sometimes called “Drunken Sailors” because of their movements while hunting, they often wobble, twirl, dance and seem to stumble. It is very amusing and entertaining to see and photograph and they never failed to delight me.

Mia