Dark and White Morph Reddish Egrets in Breeding Plumage

/, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Pinellas County, Reddish Egrets/Dark and White Morph Reddish Egrets in Breeding Plumage

White morph Reddish Egret in breeding plumageWhite morph Reddish Egret in breeding plumage – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 300mm, natural light

One May morning in 2009 I was able to photograph both the dark and white morph Reddish Egret in breeding plumage just minutes and yards apart at Fort De Soto’s north beach. Both morphs of the Reddish Egret have the same shape and size, they are just different colors.

The Reddish Egrets I photographed that May morning were busy hunting and paid me almost no attention as they went about their daily business of find prey. This white morph was hunting in the waves along the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico and I photographed it while sitting or standing on the beach.  The pink and black bi-colored bill is an indicator that this egret is in breeding plumage.  Both morphs also develop violet-blue lores (skin around the eyes) during breeding season.

Dark morph Reddish Egret in breeding plumageDark morph Reddish Egret in breeding plumage – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 135mm, natural light

I was sitting down in a tidal lagoon north of the footbridge when this dark morph Reddish Egret began hunting for prey. By staying still the egret ignored my presence and twirled, pivoted and danced around me. Note that I was only at 135mm when this image was taken and there were times this egret came so close to me that I could not focus on it. A few times I thought it was going to run right over me and even when another photographer walked up slowly the egret continued to hunt.

By the way, I should mention that both of these images were taken with a relatively low priced lens with what might be considered a short focal length for bird photography but at Fort De Soto you really don’t need the “big guns” to get high quality images of the birds there because they are habituated to human presence.

I came home that morning with my memory cards full but more importantly; to me anyway, I came home with buckets of pleasant memories myself. It isn’t always about the images.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover February 16, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    A majestic bird, especially the image of the white morph. Thanks for posting.

  2. Jane Chesebrough February 15, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    These are beautiful, could spend a while watching them.

  3. Patty Chadwick February 15, 2015 at 8:28 am

    The white morph reddish egret image is so sculptural it almost looks carved out of marble! Exquisite!!!!

    • Mia McPherson February 15, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      I hadn’t thought about it that way before Patty, you are right!

  4. Steven Kessel February 15, 2015 at 6:09 am

    “It isn’t always about the images.” How right that is! There have been a few times that I’ve been completely skunked when I thought afterwards: “this has been one of the best days, ever.”

    • Mia McPherson February 15, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Steven, I have had those moments too.

Comments are closed.