Reddish Egrets are favorites of mine. They’re handsome and fun to watch. They aren’t normally found inland, but you can spot them year round here in Central Florida along the coast in shallow bays, lagoons, and marshes.
When feeding, they wade rapidly and erratically through shallow water, scaring prey and using their wings to cast shadows and cut down on glare. Small fish may also mistakenly think there’s safety in the shadows and be drawn in closer. Here’s an older post I did with a video of one: https://edrosack.com/2015/03/29/a-few-minutes-with-a-reddish-egret/.
Photographing this behavior isn’t easy – at least for me. Their movements are unpredictable and fast (all 5 of the photos in this post happened within 28 seconds!).
I like to have my shutter speed as high as possible to reduce blur. And I try not to zoom in too far so I don’t cut off parts of the bird. Even though in general I know what’s going to happen, following the action is tough. I was lucky to have any part of the egret in the frame when it pounced suddenly.
I often see them catching minnows, but this one came up with a crustacean temptation.
I made these photos on Black Point Wildlife Drive in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. I usually see one or two Reddish Egrets there. I like to stop and spend a few minutes with them and they almost always are hunting like this. Keep an eye out for them when you go. They’re very effective predators. I don’t think that poor shrimp ever had a chance.
Their populations have recovered over the last century, but only about 1500 – 2000 nesting pairs remain in the US and destruction of their preferred coastal habitats place them in the Near Threatened conservation status. You can read more about them on their Audubon Field Guide page. It’s good that MINWR is saving some of their habitat.
Click on any of these photos to see larger versions on Flickr.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Please be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some photos!
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