Pair of Reddish Egrets fighting over prey – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 320, Nikkor 80-400mm at 300mm, natural light
I photographed this pair of Reddish Egrets on September 12, 2008 at Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach. To set the scene I’d like to say that Hurricane Ike was churning out in the Gulf of Mexico heading towards the Texas and Louisiana coasts and although Florida escaped the brunt force of the storm we did get some strong winds and wave action. That morning I photographed several different species of birds feeding on the bait fish that were being shoved up to the shoreline with the strong force of the waves. Tossed around in the waves, injured and probably dazed bait fish appeared to be easy catches for sea, shore and wading birds.
I struggled at times because the wind was forceful enough to push my lens around which resulted in some soft images and even standing up was a challenge too.
I had been photographing just one Reddish Egret dancing in the waves as it caught fish after fish and fought with the Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls over its prey when a second Reddish Egret flew in.
Reddish Egret food fight – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 320, Nikkor 80-400mm at 300mm, natural light
I didn’t have a great angle of light when I photographed this pair of Reddish Egrets but I didn’t want to move and disturb the birds so I stood still as I could while I took images of them fighting over the fish the egret on the right side of the frame had in its bill.
Neither of these images are among my best Reddish Egret photos but every time I look at them I am transported back to the north beach where I can almost feel the wind that was battering me, I remember the scent of salt in the air and I can hear the waves crashing onto the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. It was interesting to watch and photograph the brief interaction between these two Reddish Egrets. Once the bird on the right swallowed the fish the intruding bird took off towards the north end of the beach.
Life is good.