Fishing Egrets

by John Briggs on July 8, 2007

in Blog, Weekend Birding

Photographing Egrets fishing in a panne is a lesson in patience, along with a very fast shutter speed. Two weeks ago, my wife and I watched 16 Snowy and 3 Great Egrets forage for food in a panne out on Granite Point near [tag]Biddeford Pool[/tag], [tag]Maine[/tag]. The sun angle was perfect and the food was plenty for these [tag]birds[/tag].

Standing in the shadows with the sun behind me, these creatures never knew we were there. Wearing camouflage from head to toe and moving very slowly is the trick to getting close enough to get good photos of any [tag]bird[/tag]. And being quiet is a must! If you sound like a herd of elephants while moving to a vantage point, you may as well turn around. Leave the perfume, aftershave, deodorant, etc. at home. It was once thought that birds had little if any sense of smell. During the past 2 decades, sophisticated tests have identified more and more avian species that use a sense of smell.  One thing to never forget, never get close enough to stress the birds.

Saturday morning, Sharon and I met with fellow birder Bob Malbon at the Kennebunk Plains. We walked several paths and saw plenty of fledgling Sparrows and Prairie Warblers. We watched as a Rufous-Sided Towhee fed it’s young. It’s the time of year for fledglings to be out and about. If you are quiet, and find the right habitat with plenty of cover, it’s not that difficult to experience a mother feeding its young. The behaviour of the fledglings should clue you in that you are viewing a young bird. The juvenile will shake and ruffle its feathers, opening its beak towards where the adult is located. Sometimes, you will hear “cheep-cheep” coming from the young trying to get the attention of the adult. Those who have feeders should also be on the look out as the parents will bring their young to a feeder.

Two of the photos below feature what I belive is a juvenile Clay-Colored Sparrow. See the first and second images in the second row. Comment on this article if you think it is otherwise. As always, comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated.

Bumblebee on a flower - Kennebunk Plains - Kennebunk, Maine. Butterfly - Kennebunk Plains - Kennebunk, Maine. Lily - Kennebunk Plains - Kennebunk, Maine.
Clay-Colored Sparrow? - Kennebunk Plains - Kennebunk, Maine. Clay-Colored Sparrow? - Kennebunk Plains - Kennebunk, Maine. Mockingbird in flight - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Willet in flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Willet approaching Lesser Yellowlegs - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy and Great Egret - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Great Egret - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egret fishing - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egret fishing - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Snowy Egret fishing - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egret in flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egret touchdown - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Common Eider family - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Common Eider family - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Common Eider chicks - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Happy birding!

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