This Snowy Egret heads back to shore after fishing in the shallow Gulf Coast waters. There’s some speculation those bright yellow feet may actually help the Snowy Egret catch fish off guard.
These birds were once prized for their beautiful plumage and the fashion industry hunted them to the to the brink of extinction in the late 19th century. They’ve made a wonderful comeback and are fairly common now.
I tracked this Brown Pelican in my camera as it came soaring in from the Gulf Of Mexico. As luck would have it the pelican decided to land on the beach just in front of me. There’s no substitute for being in the right place at the right time.
Forster’s Terns soar above the water hunting for their prey. When they see a potential target they hover briefly to take a closer look. One they’ve decided to pursue their target they dive, nearly straight down, and splash into the water to make the catch. This one was eyeing a possible meal above the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Willets are pretty common along the beaches of the southeastern United States, at least during the winter months. I sat on a Gulf Coast beach in Florida and watched a fairly large flock resting well above the water line. The pictures I took of the larger group didn’t really do much for me. They were simply too busy. This smaller group of three made for a much cleaner composition.
When I first saw this Snowy Egret it was at the edge of the water and I was walking along the beach. As I approached it flew around a bend before I could snap a single picture of it. I snuck around some vegetation and took a few photographs of it wading just off the beach. Fully expecting it to fly away at any second, I remembered a tip I once heard about photographing shorebirds. Sometimes they seem to be less concerned if you’re actually in the water with them. So I slowly began wading out into the water and the egret didn’t even seem to notice me.
The same bird that took flight when I approached it from land actually began coming towards me while I stood in the water with it. I was still wading when it decided to head back to the beach, probably no more than 15 yards from me. I’ll never know if being in the water put the egret at ease but it definitely allowed me to change my position relative to the subject. As a result I was able to get several pictures that were much more interesting than the ones I took while it was wading and I was on the beach.
During a recent trip to the Florida Gulf Coast I was watching several Forster’s Terns as they hunted above the gulf. When they spotted a potential catch, they would hover for a second before diving, nearly straight down, into the water. I took lots of photos of them flying and hovering before I was able to capture this one just before it splashed into the water.