Great White Egrets, Ardea alba, are impressive birds. They’re much bigger than a Grey Heron and stunning in flight. Just look at this one:
I love to see them arrive at the lake. We’re at Lago di Alviano, one of my favourite places. The light is fabulous and reveals the structure of their flight feathers perfectly:
As one takes off it extends its neck. I’ve never seen anything like it before:
I suspect there’s a fish in the middle of that neck. It’s a long way to its stomach.
I’m pleased with my photos so I decide to post one on the Facebook group for the lake. I use my best Italian and type Airone bianco maggiore, the Italian name of the Great White Egret. Facebook translates this into English for me and instead of Great White Egret, it thinks what I’ve written is Major White Airplane.
It’s not far wrong.
More from Lago di Alviano
Great and spottedWe've been spotted. There's a Great Spotted Woodpecker living its adventurous life nearby. Great Spotted Woodpeckers are large woodpeckers to us. They're actually only medium sized woodpeckers, it's just we don't have any of the large ones in the UK. Great Spotted Woodpeckers are closely related to Syrian Woodpeckers. They… read more
A Pygmy Cormorant stuffing itself stupidThere's a Pygmy Cormorant, Microcarbo pygmaeus, swimming and diving on the lake. It's too far away for a decent photograph as the hide we're sitting in is 70 metres away from the far bank and Pygmy Cormorants are, well, small. It's when it pops up nearer with a huge fish that I… read more
Cinderella IronThe last we saw of a Grey Heron was one standing, impressively, on a branch over the lake at Lago di Alviano. We'd spent a day seeing them fly by. They're impressive birds when close. Whenever I see them now I'm amused that one lady in a Rome park described… read more
Pygmy CormorantThere's a Pygmy Cormorant, Microcarbo pygmaeus, in the water. It looks as pleased to be here as we are. The light is poor, so I'm using a longer exposure and hoping there's not too much movement by the bird and plenty of movement in the water. It pops up onto… read more
Great TitsThe colours are beautiful behind this Great Tit, Parus major. They have beautiful glossy caps and shining black eyes. They are the picture of health. The British subspecies of the Great Tit is Parus major newtoni. In Europe as far as Mongolia and Siberia, the subspecies is Parus major major.… read more
The Horse EgretThere are two white horses together with their attendants at Lago di Alviano. This is a Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis, riding a white horse. No, I don't mean that it's high on cocaine. I mean it's literally riding a white horse. It's a Horse Egret, then, isn't it? I see… read more
Marsh TitsMarsh Tits must make a tasty morsel. The only ones which have survived are constantly wary of their environment. This one is checking for Sparrowhawks. Now, so am I. read more
Blue Tits #2I'm delighted to be spending time with Blue Tits in the forest here at Lago di Alviano. These don't have metal rings on their legs. Some of my nicest photographs of Blue Tits in the UK are slightly tarnished by them having ankle jewellery. We've ringed 2.5 million of them… read more
Blue Tits #1Finally! Some decent light. Aren't Blue Tits fantastic? This one has a raised crest to die for: They've got to be one of Europe's most beautiful birds. Here in Italy the Blue Tit subspecies is Cyanistes caeruleus caeruleus. In the UK the Blue Tit subspecies is Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus. I've… read more