Little Egrets

Little Egrets are one of the most beautiful birds I’ve photographed. I remember the shock of seeing my first one from the train on the Teign estuary and then seeing them again on the Exe estuary in Devon.

Today I’m in Italy at the Lago di Alviano. It seems like an ancient lake but it was only created in 1990. It’s full of wetland wildlife.

From a hide I saw a Little Egret, Egretta garzetta, come in to splash-land in front of us:

Little Egret - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I love the yellow feet.

Little Egret - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There’s a huge contrast between the stiffness of the flight feathers on the wings, the softer feathers on the body and the really delicate decorative feathers at the base of the neck and at the rear.

The light is so bright today it’s almost possible to see the wing bones in silhouette:

I try tracking one with my camera. I’d like to see it launch its neck into the water but my reaction times are too slow. As soon as I see its neck move I take a photograph and it’s neck is already back upright by the time my finger has pressed the shutter. I keep trying and it keeps not working. Again and again. Then one comes back up with a small fish and I get a whole set of photographs as it manoeuvres it into its beak. Fabulous:

Persistence. It works if you want to catch a fish, whether you are a Little Egret or a photographer.

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