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.
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.