Reddish Egret up close and not so close

/, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Pinellas County, Reddish Egrets/Reddish Egret up close and not so close

Reddish Egret portraitReddish Egret portrait – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited

On my Great Blue Heron post yesterday I mentioned that:

When I am out photographing birds I always appreciate when I am able to get close enough to them to get portrait frames of them because a portrait can show fine details that an image from further away can.

Today I wanted to share another example of close up and full body images of another one of my favorite birds; the Reddish Egret.  They are also known as “The Drunken Sailor” for the wacky poses they exhibit while hunting, I wish that everyone of my readers could see that dance at least once in a lifetime. Maybe even from the perspective that I some times had while sitting or kneeling waist deep in a lagoon with expensive camera gear in hand while thinking “Oh oh, is that Reddish Egret going to mow me down because it isn’t paying attention to a thing outside of its prey let alone the crazy woman in the lagoon?”

I was sitting in the warm water of the lagoon when I photographed this adult Reddish Egret in breeding plumage but the egret was on dry ground near some mangroves so I wasn’t concerned about it running into me or spearing me with its knife-like bill while calling “Shiska-Mia”!

Okay, back to being serious. With this close up image I can see plenty of fine detail in the plumage, eyes, lores and bill. The details in the “mane” and other feathers show very nicely. I am not sure why but the “mane” has always reminded me a dreadlocks on Reddish Egrets.

Adult Reddish Egret in breeding plumageAdult Reddish Egret in breeding plumage – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 260mm, natural light, not baited

From a distance I can appreciate the full body of the egret and with more of the “mane” showing people who have never seen this wading bird before might understand why the feathers on the head and neck are sometimes even called a “mane”. The mane doesn’t look so much like dreadlocks when the bird is standing still but when it is running about chasing prey those ropy sections of feathers going flying about willy-nilly and that is when they most remind me of dreads.

For me; both images are appealing and tell me a lot about this Reddish Egret.



  1. eric c11 September 2, 2013 at 12:21 am

    impressive this close up, a pleasure to watch
    thanks =))

  2. Tami August 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Wow. You captured those amazing colors so crisply, Mia. Gorgeous!

  3. Sherry in MT August 28, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I agree, I love it when I can get a good shot to crop and see the details. The first thing I noticed about this guy is the same feather patterns on the neck that I see in the gbh!

    • Mia McPherson August 29, 2013 at 4:40 am

      Thank you Sherry. GBH and these egrets are so awesome.

  4. Eileen August 28, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Hello Mia, Gorgeous shots of the Reddish Egret. It is one bird I have not seen yet.

    • Mia McPherson August 29, 2013 at 4:37 am

      Thank you Eileen, I hope you get to see a Reddish Egret soon.

  5. Utahbooklover August 28, 2013 at 1:09 am

    Love that close-up image but like seeing the entire bird too. Good work Mia!

  6. Sheila August 27, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Beau-Ti-Mus, running out of words to describe your beautiful photography and your excellent skill!
    Must be so much fun to open the photos and have these on your screen.

    I always wanted to be a Redhead!!

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Thanks so much Sheila!

  7. Myer Bornstein August 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    most excellent of this beautiful Egret

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Thanks Myer, they are really very beautiful

  8. Merrill Ann Gonzales August 27, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    On these birds I appreciate the close up of the head so I can study the intricacies of the mandible etc. It’s better than seeing the birds in the wild! Many thanks.

  9. Rich August 27, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Having seen a shot of you wading a tidal pool, I’m wondering if you find wading a stealthier way to wait or approach a subject. Or is it simply a matter of taking a direct route, impediments be damned. I ask because I do al ot of wading with a fly rod in hand, quietly stalking and rarely casting (Texas, Laguna Madre)and have not noticed that I gain extra range on birds. Perhaps its just a matter of the impossibility of mixing pleasures.

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2013 at 11:15 am


      I did find that with a very slow and low (to the water) approach to my subjects that I was far more likely to get closer to them than if I had approached them on land. although if I laid very still on land for long periods of time eventually birds would approach me closely, this style took much longer than approaching by water. If I was standing upright in the water the birds were always more on the alert but being low in the water seemed to make them more comfortable with my presence. I didn’t really mind being in the water, in fact on some days it kept me cool in the heat & humidity.

  10. patty chadwick August 27, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Interesting shots of a bird not familiar to me…great detail…am working on a watercolor of a great blue now, a bird I’ve painted several times before, and am always amazed at the variety of feathers these birds have…not just colors, but shapes.

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2013 at 7:53 am

      Thanks Patty, Reddish Egrets have a far more limited range than their cousin the Great Blue Heron which is why many people are unfamiliar with them. Every once in a while one shows up in southern Utah, I hope I will see one again.

  11. Montanagirl August 27, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Absolutely “Brilliant” photos! So much detail, clarity, and perfect lighting!!

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2013 at 7:51 am

      Thank you very much Montana Girl!

  12. judy watson August 27, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Wow, Mia! I love this. Beautiful bird.
    I want to go sit in your lagoon and see this wonderful bird.

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2013 at 7:50 am

      I hope you get to see and photograph these wonderful wading birds in my lagoon Judy, just head to Fort De Soto!

  13. Elephant's Child August 27, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Stunning. And how lucky the birds (and we) are that you take their portraits. And yes, I can see the parallel with their mane and dreads. Though the egret won’t face the problem which perplexes me – how do you sleep on dreads?

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2013 at 7:50 am

      Thanks EC, I always felt lucky to be able to photograph the Reddish Egrets. I reckon people with dreads get used to sleeping on them.

  14. Gary DeFeyter August 27, 2013 at 4:18 am

    This looks like “Big Red” from Ft. DeSoto North Beach. Always puts on a show. Nice shots. One of my favorite birds.

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2013 at 7:48 am

      Reddish Egrets always do put on a great show Gary!

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