BPW: Snowy Egrets

by John Briggs on March 23, 2009

in Bird Photographs, Bird Photography Weekly, Blog

Snowy Egrets in flight | Click for larger view

Snowy Egrets in flight | Click for larger view


Back in August, I was walking along the marsh at Granite Point near Biddeford Pool, Maine. The area is marked with deep pot holes and it is difficult at times to see what may be in them. One particular area that I stopped at had the grunting of Snowy Egrets coming from a hole. I could not see anything except for a head bobbing up once in a while.

I hunkered down and waited for at least half an hour as the tide rose, hoping to get a flight shot of the departing Egrets. My plan was that as the water level rose in the hole, Egrets would begin flying out and heading toward the sand bar in the Little River. I had the early morning sun behind me and life seemed good to be sitting along a beautiful marsh awaiting the inevitable.

All of the sudden an Eastern Willet came at me full speed! Flying just over my head, the Willet turned around and came at me again screaming at me all the while. I had to get out of there, there were Willet chicks hidden somewhere in the thicket in front of me. Before its second pass, I scrambled back to the road and walked away. The Willet landed on a post and scolded me, then flew into the thicket where I heard the chicks anxious to see their mother.

In all the commotion, the Egrets had flown out of the pot hole and went off into the wild blue yonder. I never had the chance to get a photo. I felt bad that I stressed the Willet by being close to its chicks. But until I was chased away, I had no idea that anything was there but the Egrets.

I walked over to the banks of the Little River hoping that the Egrets had gone to the sandbar. Nothing was there and I began to think that I may as well leave and check out another area. As I turned to leave, I saw a large flock of Snowy Egrets flying in the distance and decided to wait to see if they would come my way. Come my way they did! Fifteen Egrets in all came flying down the Little River. I focused on a group of five and began taking photos.

It was over all in a matter of seconds and I got some photos that I was certainly proud of. The photo I am submiting for Bird Photography Weekly is from this outing and is one of only two photos that had all five Egrets in the frame.

Happy birding!



Kyle March 23, 2009 at 11:48 am

That’s a beautiful shot, John! That dive-bombing willet must have been quite a surprise. Glad you were able to get out of her stress-zone and still get some nice egret shots.

Chris March 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm

A very nice picture Johan, not so easy to take. Well done.

Kallen March 23, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Fantastic shot John!! I get so nervous taking pictures of birds in flight because they are so quick and usually mess it up. That picture is very clear and lovely.

Shelley March 23, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Lol at the attacking Willets! Glad they let you live to photograph another day! The egret photos were wonderful!

Larry Jordan March 24, 2009 at 12:08 am

Gorgeous, beautiful, fantastic capture of one of my favorite subjects, the Snowy Egret! I really like the way they are in formation yet you get to see their different wing beat stages.

Isn’t it funny John, that we can wait and wait but then something happens and we are there to capture it spontaneously?

Dawn Fine March 24, 2009 at 10:06 am

Great story…Beauteous Photo!

April March 24, 2009 at 1:55 pm

I enjoyed your interesting post. Fifteen Egrets at once – an amazing sight for sure! You took a very beautiful photo and captured them wonderfully!

Natural Moments March 25, 2009 at 2:14 am

I havn’t had the pleasure of seeing them fly in groups like this. It’s very nice John.

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