Snowy Egret in flight on a clear September morning – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 800, -1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
It has been a while since I photographed Snowy Egrets so having them in my viewfinder yesterday morning was a real treat especially since they will be migrating soon and I will go the winter without seeing them. The Snowy Egrets I photographed in Florida were year round residents but the ones that breed are here in Utah are not.
The two Snowy Egret photos I am sharing today show both birds in flight with one of them flying towards the west and one flying towards the east not long after the sun came over the tops of the mountains. In both photos the heads of the egrets are well lit with their wings fully extended in flight.
In this first photo the Snowy Egret was flying towards the west and the shadow of the wings fell on the lower portion of the egret’s belly, I decreased my exposure by one full stop to reduce the chance of blown out whites on the dorsal side of the wings which worked out quite well.
Snowy Egret in flight on a late September morning – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
In this second Snowy Egret photo the egret was flying towards the east and at the time I didn’t feel that I needed to decrease my exposure at all and it too worked out quite nicely. In this photo the shadows fell on the egret’s legs and feet with some shadows on the dorsal side of the egret’s wings.
The darkness in the background of both images added a nice contrast and a touch of drama too.
I’m happy that I was able to spend time photographing these Snowy Egrets yesterday morning before they head south for the winter.
Life is good.
Snowy Egret facts and information:
- Snowy Egrets are medium sized wading birds with white plumage, long thin necks, legs and bills and yellow lores and feet. During the breeding season their lores change color to hues between salmon and orange-red.
- Snowy Egrets were hunted to near extinction in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s for their plumes that were used as decorations on ladies hats. Their plumes at that time sold for nearly twice the amount that gold sold for. Laws were passed to protect them and they have recovered.
- In some locations Snowy Egrets are year round residents while in others they migrate.
- Snowy Egrets are found primarily along the coast but they can also be found in inland wetland habitat. Their habitat includes beaches, fresh and saltwater marshes, mudflats, wet agricultural fields, the banks of rivers and lake shorelines.
- Snowy Egrets eat small crustaceans, fish, insects, small reptiles and amphibians.
- They are colonial nesters. Snowy Egrets lay 2 to 6 eggs which take about 18 days to hatch. Both sexes incubate.
- Snowy Egrets have been known to mate with other herons including Tricolored Herons, Little Blue Herons and Cattle Egrets and produced hybrid offspring.
- Snowy Egrets are also known as “Golden Slippers” because of their yellow feet.
- A group of egrets can be called a “heronry”, “skewer” and “wedge” of egrets.
- Snowy Egrets can live up to 22 years.