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Where We Live by John Silveira and Richard Blunt. Photos and commentary from Oregon and New England.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Great egrets in Oregon, Part 1

Monday, September 10th, 2012

I first noticed egrets when I lived in southern California. I “noticed,” but I didn’t pay attention to them. I started paying attention to them when I moved to Oregon and got a DSLR in my hands.

They’re elusive birds and almost all of my photographs have come from long range. But that elusiveness pays off when, after I get enough photos of one wading, they spook because when they take off…well, in flight they’re spectacular.

Going through some bird books, I’ve only recently learned to tell the difference among the various species. I also discovered they’re actually members of the heron family. I knew they looked somewhat similar to the blue herons I’ve seen, but I didn’t know they’re cousins of a sort. The egrets I’ve seen, that hang out around Gold Beach, Oregon, are apparently great egrets. They’re large birds. They can be almost 3½ feet long and have a wingspread of over 5½ feet. But, at most, they only weight up to about 3¼ pounds.

To find out just what they’re eating, when I see them, I discovered this on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Egret: “The Great Egret feeds in shallow water or drier habitats, feeding mainly on fish, frogs, small mammals, and occasionally small reptiles and insects, spearing them with its long, sharp bill most of the time by standing still and allowing the prey to come within its striking distance of its bill which it uses as a spear. It will often wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk its victim.”

I’ve watched them for great lengths of time, as they slowly stalk something they can see in the water, that’s invisible to me. I’d been watching this particular bird and, when it spread its wings,  I thought it was about to take off, but all it was doing was moving a few yards because it apparently saw something more interesting or appetizing that it wanted to rush to.

Tomorrow, I’ll post photos of this egret, taken just minutes later, when it finally took flight.

These six photos were taken with my Canon 5D Mark III using my 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM lens with the camera set in burst mode. Afterwards, they were cropped for this blog.

 

This guy (gal?) had been feeding in the shallow water of the Port of Gold Beach and I managed, after parking my car, to get relatively close to it.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 200mm

At this point, I thought it was about to take flight. It would have been nice to get a photo of one flying toward me.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 200mm

 

Here it is, almost immediately setting back down. but look at those wings.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 160     focal length 200mm

 

It’s settling…

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 160     focal length 200mm

 

…settling…

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 160     focal length 200mm

 

 

…it’s hunting, again.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 200     focal length 200mm

 

One Response to “Great egrets in Oregon, Part 1”

  1. Sam Says:

    Your commentary is very informative and quite riveting. Although I tend to scroll through the photos first, I do try to read most of your commentary. This one was easy to finish. Thank you.

    I was wondering if you intentionally cropped the reflections out of these photos? Personally, I think they would be more eye-catching with the complete reflection visible.

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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