A Snowy Redemption

Definitely sticking with the game plan for this month, staying ahead of the game and getting the posts out early. It definitely helps when you already have the images worked up in the digital darkroom. To be honest, short of getting the birds in the tin, the major effort in this whole blogging thingy is working up the images to make it worth my reader’s visit time. Of course, this doesn’t always happen, case in point the horrific Cave Swallow pictures I forced upon you a few posts back. I try my best so you can at least tell it is a bird – not to mention Ron is starting to push me with the quality stuff he is putting up over on his blog (link here). You probably didn’t know this, but I credit him for getting me into photography while I was in high school and the reason I can navigate around a camera (although I did introduce him to back-button focus). Today’s featured bird is a bit of an atonement for a slight I made in a recent post.

Snowy Egret found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center December 2016

Within the Cinnamon Teal post (link here), I unintentionally dismissed one of the most regal birds there is (at least in North America). It wasn’t the species that dimmed my excitement, just that I was revved up to add a new +1 to the list. I am lucky enough to have a large number of Snowy Egret shots from just about everywhere we’ve traveled along with tins full from Emiquon and other local water hotspots. When I saw this set of Snowies in the post queue, I immediately decided this was the perfect time to bring them out.

Snowy Egret found at Galveston Island, Texas, January 2017

Hit the jump to see some more picture of this immaculate bird.

This set is made up of two encounters with these white knights. Those with the green vegetation background come to you from South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center back in December, 2016. The rest are from a visit to Galveston Island, during the same trip (these technically came in the first few days of 2017). Double benefit – not only do I get to right a wrong, I also get to chip away at a serious backlog of images – trust me, 2016 is about in the middle of my backlog queue.

Snowy Egret found at Galveston Island, Texas, January 2017

The Snowy pretty much speaks for itself – no reason to waste a lot of words on this one. Not sure I have ever seen a dirty one regardless of the environments we have found them in. Even in the muck around the edge of ponds, these Egrets will stand out in their brilliant white. The Great Egret (link here), may be adorned in a similar white coloring, but it has nothing on the Snowy when it is in its breeding plumage. Just something lanky about the neck on the great Egret compared to the more compact frame of the Snowy.

Snowy Egret found at Galveston Island, Texas, January 2017

I also prefer the jet black bill and the legs which really make the yellow patch on the bill and those yellow feet pop (which you will see in a few more images). The other very satisfying characteristic of these birds is their trait of being perfectly still for extended periods of time. If you are a photography, this is the perfect bird for you. Unless you are just way off on your settings, you should be able to get pretty decent pictures in the tin – unlike those damn Cave Swallows.

Snowy Egret found at Galveston Island, Texas, January 2017

Now a few words about those elegant flowing feathers that adorn this bird. That feature devastated their populations in the 1800’s. The fashion industry became enamored with them and drove the value through the roof – so much that they became a sought after target (Cornell mentions that in 1886, the plumes were valued at three times the price of gold per ounce). Thankfully, this issue was addressed in the twentieth century putting their population on the road to recovery. I am glad to say today, the Snowy Egret is categorized as Low Concern on the Conservation Index.

Snowy Egret found at Galveston Island, Texas, January 2017

I promised you a picture of those yellow feet!

Snowy Egret found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center December 2016

Coming to the end of the images selected for this post, so time to wrap it up. The best thing about the Snowy Egret is they can be seen just about everywhere in the US and down into Central America. The most northern states might have to travel down a few hours, but definitely accessible. If nothing else, they will assuredly see it on their vacations to the coasts.

Snowy Egret found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center December 2016

I should probably point out, that I actually won a Best in Show thanks to this species (link here). Sorry Snowy, I didn’t mean to disrespect you – please forgive.


5 thoughts on “A Snowy Redemption”

  1. I had totally forgotten that I got you a Nikon FG when you were in high school until you included a picture of one in your talk to the Peoria Camera Club recently! I think by that time I had a Nikon FE2 (with its 1/4000 sec mechanical shutter speed), which my daughter in San Diego is now using because she likes film. She gets comments when she is out with the FE2 by people who remember it well or young people who don’t know what to make of it. But not only have you reciprocated since with information on using the features of a digital camera after I finally got one, but you’ve helped with post-processing in Lightroom. Now if I can only get you to use Auto-ISO mode.

    Beautiful pictures! The hardest thing to do with these white birds is to avoid saturation. I have to watch my camera histogram (thanks, Brian) to make sure I’m not clipping at the upper end, which means the overall exposure is pretty dark. These definitely need post-processing. It helps a lot when it’s cloudy out so the sun isn’t lighting them up.

    Thanks for the post and the shout-out to my blog (wait, am I supposed to do something with my blog??).


    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t just a picture of one, that is the actual one! I still have it, sitting next to me in the Anheuser-Bush Inc crate I somehow got from you or Dan. I still cannot believe that your daughter likes to shoot with film – you can saw what you want about being retro and hipster, I’ll take my digital camera any day over the old film days where you would waste a whole role of film screwing up a setting and not find out about it until days/weeks later whey you scraped up enough money to get them developed. No I snap a pick, check the histogram (you are welcome) adjust and shoot on. Yes, I continue to resist auto-ISO and surprised you didn’t bring up all the photographers I admire who use that setting (amateurs ha). I know you have been busy as of late (damn day jobs), so I haven’t “pressed” you for “words” on the blog (made a funny). We will continue to wait in anticipation for your next post. Is it there yet, is it there yet, is it there yet,…


    1. Looks like we have proof of their recovery in the UK at least. They have been pretty abundant since I started really birding in earnest, so unable to really give any insights of their recovery in my parts. I can easily say without hesitation I have thousands of pictures of these Egrets and their related species having spent a good part of my early birding years snapping picture after picture trying to learn how to photograph such amazingly white birds.. long live the histogram. Now in recognition of one of my few golden rules, if they are there, I’ll take a few shots, but then move on to more elusive birds. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

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