After posting Great Blue Heron images yesterday I decided to post images of Great Egrets which are also a large wading bird species this morning. I was fortunate to be able to photograph Great Egrets in many of the same locations of Fort De Soto as I did Great Blue Herons while I lived in Florida. Sometimes both species would be in the same locations at the same time hunting for the same prey. Great Egrets can be more challenging to photograph because of their bright white plumage and the possibility of over-exposure but photographing them in early morning or late evening light can help with that.
The photo above was taken in nice light while I was inside a lagoon and while the egret was flying to another location in the lagoon to hunt for prey. I wished for a slightly better head angle but liked how the wingtips were just barely touching the water. The dark green reflections on the water were from mangroves at the waters edge.
Much like the Great Blue Herons at Fort De Soto Great Egrets would approach quite close at times. This Great Egret strolled right past me on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico so close that I decided to do portrait images of it. The lores around the eyes were green colored because the egret was going into or out of breeding plumage. This was taken in late afternoon light on a day when I had arrived at Fort De Soto long before sunrise and spent several hours photographing at the north beach then jumped on the ferry to Egmont Key for part of my Florida Master Naturalist Class being held there for several more hours and then ended my day by photographing at the north beach again until after sunset. It was a very long, hot day but it was also amazing.
Early one February morning I found this Great Egret fishing in the lagoon near the concession stand at Fort De Soto’s north beach while it hunted for prey. It was an excellent hunter and I saw it catch several small fish and then watched as it captured this Mullet. The mullet struggled a lot and there were a few times I thought the egret was going to lose the fish but the egret decided to move onto the shoreline where the mullet couldn’t swim away before it gulped the fish down whole.
They are fascinating, big white birds!
Life is good.
*All of these images were taken in 2009.