Great Egret With The Catch Of The Day That Didn’t Get Eaten

/, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Great Egrets, Pinellas County/Great Egret With The Catch Of The Day That Didn’t Get Eaten

Great Egret with large fishGreat Egret with large fish – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Last week I saw five Great Egrets close to each other at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and while that might not seem like a lot it was the most Great Egrets I have seem together in Utah since I arrived here in 2009. I was excited about seeing and photographing them but then felt quickly disappointed when they all flew away before I could even stop my Jeep. They seem very skittish here in northern Utah.

They weren’t skittish on the Gulf coast of Florida though and there were times when I photographed them there that they completely ignored me and went about the business of just being themselves.

On the afternoon December 1, 2008 I met up with a friend at the north beach of Fort De Soto County Park to photograph birds together and we found a Great Egret in a tidal lagoon next to a spartina marsh in lovely afternoon light with a large fish in its bill. Without even thinking both of us dropped down onto the sand simultaneously to belly-crawl a bit closer to the large wading bird where we hid behind some small sand dunes to photograph the egret.

Great Egret standing tallGreat Egret standing tall – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 360mm, natural light, not baited

The Great Egret struggled to swallow the large fish and even though it readjusted the fish in its bill several times it never swallowed the fish before it dropped it into the lagoon and flew off. In this frame the fish can be seen under that water in front of the egret’s left foot.

Even though the Great Egret didn’t eat its catch of the day Adrian and I both took some lovely images of it.

Life is good.



  1. Elephant's Child October 6, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Stunning. As always.

  2. Utahbooklover October 6, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Yes the first image is wonderful; the second one looks a bit awkward on its stilts.

  3. Stu October 6, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Thanks very much for posting your excellent images and very interesting narrative.
    Dozens of great egrets have been roosting around sunset at a small wetland very near Midland, Michigan. They are especially gorgeous when flying in. I’ll miss them when they migrate.

  4. Patty Chadwick October 6, 2016 at 9:09 am

    wow! wow! wow! wow!wow! wow! PERFECT in every way…the bird, the fish, the contrasting background, the white agaist dark, the ripples, the composition!!! I never tite of egret images, anyway, and this one is spectacular!!! I like the spraddle position of the second, but the first is amazing!!!

  5. April Olson October 6, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Is hunting allowed in Fort De Soto County Park? My theory is the birds especially this time of year at Utah refuges are very skittish because of hunting.

    • Mia McPherson October 6, 2016 at 7:47 am

      April, hunting isn’t allowed on Fort De Soto so that may be one reason why they aren’t skittish there. The main reason is that they are habituated to human presence from beach walkers, fishermen, sunbathers and photographers strolling the beach all the time.

  6. Bob mcpherson October 6, 2016 at 6:55 am

    Beautiful images,mia..

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