Readers’ wildlife photos

May 23, 2023 • 8:15 am

I received two batches of photos yesterday, so we’re good for at least two more days. . .

Today we have some lovely Great Egret photos from reader Doug Hayes of Richmond, Virginia. His notes are indented and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Chamberlayne Swamp is a marshy area about 20 minutes outside of Richmond. The area is home to a variety of birds, red-winged blackbirds, harriers, egrets, herons and of course, Canada geese. My neighbor and I frequently journey out there to take photos of the inhabitants. During the day, it is not unusual to see a few Great egrets (Ardea alba). A few hours before sundown, however, dozens of the birds gather to roost for the evening.

Just a few of the more than two dozen egrets that had gathered near the shore for the evening:

Most of the birds just hang out together, preening and showing off their aigrettes – the long, stringy plumes – in courtship displays:

This trio has picked out a prime roosting spot:

An egret doing his best rooster imitation:

Looking for a snack before turning in for the evening:

Profiling for the camera:

Long legs are great for keeping one’s feathers out of the water. This bird did not get the memo:

In addition to the courtship plumage (aigrettes) the green color of the lores (the bare skin between the eyes and beak) shows that this bird is in the “mood for love”

Coming in for a landing:

Showing off the courtship plumage:

Almost sunset:

Searching for the perfect roosting spot:

Camera info:  Sony A-1 camera body, Sony 200-600 zoom lens and 1.4X teleconverter. iFootage Cobra 2 monopod and Neweer gimbal head. Camera was set on auto ISO and maximum burst speed (20 frames per second). In addition, many of the photos were taken with the camera’s Clear Image Zoom function for an additional 2X image magnification. 600mm + 1.4X converter + 2X digital zoom is roughly equal to shooting with a 1,600mm lens.

13 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. It is surely progress that human beings no longer kill those birds in order to put their plumage on ladies’ hats.

  2. Thank you so much for those spectacular photos! I love great egrets and all the other large wading birds. Maybe you could take another series of photos of one of the others, perhaps some type of heron? I fortunately saw almost all the different herons and egrets during breeding season at the Wildwood rookery in NJ one year.

  3. Very lovely, especially the unexpected golden glow of the courtship colors, so perfectly lit in your photos!

  4. I look forward to the wonderful wildlife photos every day. I wish that I was able to contribute. Perhaps, if you do run out, you could rerun some of the great ones from the past if that’s possible.

  5. What a great photographic series – documents of their great beauty. The contrast of the aigrettes and white – and what a white – caught my eye more than once as well as that fierce sword of a beak.

    Thanks for these.

  6. Incredible pics, have never seen better ones of egrets. Wonderful equipment you have there, but it takes skill to use it, too.

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