I can’t believe it is November already. 2013 has flown by WAAAAY too quick. This generally means I’ve been keeping pretty busy and that is a good thing. Unfortunately, my to-do list doesn’t look one bit smaller as a result – rate added is exceeding rate completed. The good news is Phase 5 of Project Auuuunoooold is completed and another project is nearly done .. translated… look for upcoming posts! In case you were not keeping track (although I know you do), 4 of last month’s 6 posts were not about birds. Seemed like a break was in order from all the bird posts that were coming at you. With the new month that ratio will likely swing back a little – really need to get through the Henderson trip so we can get to the other vacations we’ve taken since then. Hell, there was even another Henderson trip since then and our friends who went with us to Yellowstone this year are already wondering when the pictures will be coming. So how about a bird post!
What a fantastic idea. Seems I have a few shots from the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve in Nevada lying around so let’s dust those off (I know I know .. not much of a surprise there). Today’s featured bird is a revisit of sorts from the first time we covered it back in Nov 2011. The Great Egret (link here) photographed back then was quite a ways off and pretty hard to make out the details. This was not the case at the ponds in Henderson.
We were able to get relatively close – close enough at least for the reach of the Beast. This particular specimen was busy fishing the edges of the pond. It seemed to be aware we were there and would throw a glance in the direction of the big glass every once in awhile, but beyond that pretty much stay focused on what sustenance the water had to offer. It has been mentioned many times in this blog that Egrets and Herons are excellent photography subjects thanks to how calm/still they remain while hunting. Quite handy when the light isn’t optimum since you can open up the aperture or extend the shutter if needed and most of the time the bird will stay stationary long enough to compensate for it.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this majestic bird!
This particular Great Egret was a seasoned pro in the water. If it did move it would simply extend out its neck in a slow and methodical approach. Above you can see it reeled out about 2/3rds… and below you can see it at full cast.
Pretty cool eh? The fish, frogs and other invertebrates that day must have been rubbing their rabbit feet because this Egret came up empty. Our distraction must have been throwing it off its game. It made a couple more passes with similar disappointing results.
Not long after that it gave up and probably went looking for a more discrete place to fish. Egrets (and Herons for that matter) are quite the spectacle when launching and landing. They have to put a lot of effort to get those long wings unfurled and generate enough lift for them to take flight. These shots could have used just a bit faster shutter, but given the circumstances they didn’t come out that bad – it is hard to track birds in flight with the Beast glass – any slip of the focus off the bird and the glass will take an unwanted jog. Our 70-200 is really the preferred glass for birds in flight but you go with what your finger is on.
Here is another shot as it tries to launch. The wings are totally out now and the neck is moving into the cruising position – none of those flight shots came out but you can see their cruise posture in the previous post (about half way down). The neck folds back over itself and the legs extend out directly behind the body (very pterodactyl like).
This is probably my favorite shot from the launch set. It provides a good feel for just how large those wings are — 52 to 67 inches based on our friends over at Wikipedia.
As birds go, the Egret ranks right up there with the American Eagle for pure enjoyment in the field. Less jittery than the other waterbirds in the area (nothing stupid enough to take on that spear of a bill), will often times let you get fairly close and will provide a few feeding shots if you wait long enough. The only problem is I think they know their cool and makes them all cocky like (stay tuned for an upcoming post which demonstrates this). Beyond that, I can see why the National Audubon Society chose it as their symbol.
Just a quick one tonight folks. Don’t need to spend much time on the facts since it has already appeared here at LifeIntrigued. Not a new checkmark, but still a fun bird to look at… in my humble opinion of course.