A Great Egret Goes Fishing

While the Great Blue Heron in my last post patiently fished a specific spot, this Great Egret fished on the move.  I photographed him from a fishing pier across a canal at low tide for less than five minutes.

Early in the breeding season adults grow long, ornamental plumes (feathers) on their backs, which they raise in beautiful courtship displays.

Notice this Great Egret’s breeding plumes, now in the stage of growth as he/she is changing from non-breeding to breeding.

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A strike…..but no luck.

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The Great Egret continued its mission and came across the canal towards me, stalking around several old piers.

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At this point, the Great Egret was approaching to pass right below me.  It cared less about me and more about finding something to eat.

Pity the prey that gets attacked by that dagger beak!

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These next two close-ups show another breeding change occurring with this Great Egret.  Notice the beak and loral skin is in the beginning stages of changing from yellow to the full-breeding neon green.

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To show you how beautiful the above Great Egret will soon be, I’m sharing the next photo I took a few year’s ago of a Great Egret’s full facial change when it reaches full-breeding plumage.

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How beautiful and unique most birds of our world change in color and plumage for breeding.  It’s an added gift from our Creator for us to watch and enjoy that much more of our birds, all while these breeding changes serve the birds’ purpose to mate and reproduce.


45 thoughts on “A Great Egret Goes Fishing

  1. I’ve never been close enough to one of these lovelies to see the green. Some amazing captures here, Donna. Great shooting, my dear!

    • Thanks so much, Gunta! I was very lucky with that last photo taken in Florida a few years ago. I was cruisin’ around in my golf cart and we met up. He gave some nice profile shots, then all of a sudden, whoosh, he took off! I hollered a thank you to that one for sure!! 🙂

  2. Oh, that one is in breeding mode. Those beaks do scare me when I get too close. They’re spears that could take me out in a flash!

    The reflections and series is stellar! I wish I had a golf cart to cruise around the reserves in! You’re a very lucky woman to be were you are with a golf cart! Just sayin’!

    • Thanks Deborah! Sorry, no, I don’t have my golf cart with me now. Gosh, I wish I did!! But I have used the golf cart many times birding when we went camping few years ago, it always worked well as a photo blind like a car. 🙂

    • Thanks Tom! Illinois is one of the states the Great Egret prominently breeds in so you’re in “primetime Great Egret country”! 🙂 This Egret is the largest of all the white herons. Almost as large as the Great Blue Heron. They are beauties!

    • Thanks Brian, and you’re so right. I tried different settings while photographing and can always have the issue the white blows way out or you get the tint of yellow or blue. Definitely a great species to practice lighting and contrast. 🙂

      • I love your egret photos. I am curious in the first couple, what is the ‘thing’ that extends to the ground/water at the back, that almost looks like a third leg? I have gotten several photos of great egrets in our cove with that extension and haven’t quite figured out what it is — seems to long to be part of breeding plumage. Any thoughts?? Or is that what you were referring to as the breeding plumage?

    • Thanks so much, they are very graceful, like the Great Blue Heron, and I just love their whiteness. Always pure and clean! Whoa, 400kms (249 miles) is a long ways to go for a bird, I can see asking my hubby to go on that road trip, lol. But, I know what you mean about the temptation!! It is always awesome to add another lifer to our lists!! 😆

  3. Never seen the details of an Egret in full breeding state-quite striking! Yes, that bill is a little unnerving. I like , particularly, the images with the reflections of the bird in the water.

    • Thanks Jane, their white body really reflects nicely, so I love when they are near water. And that beak, whoa, it is a little unnerving to me too. I’m glad I shared that older photo of the bold neon green, it is one of my favorites of the Great Egret I’ve taken.

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