Thursday 24 September 2015

Great Egret: Finally!

Sept 22 2015 Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary Sunny 14c

Finally, after five attempts I now have some decent shots the Great Egret. The elusive wader had been hanging around the Lower Mainland for the last month or so. The bird had lots of us birders running around and there are still many hoping for a first sighting. Egrets are not often seen here, I believe the last sighting in the Lower Mainland was 2013 at Grant Narrows.
Great Egret

Apart from one distant view through a scope I had been chasing the egret for two weeks without much luck. Finally I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I had just photographed the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Sora in the outer ponds at Reifel. The sharpie was a 2015 year bird for me and so after a long day I had decided to go home. On my way out to the car a cluster of photographers were all pointing their lenses in the same direction which usually means only one thing, the egret was back in Fuller's Slough. It was at first a distant speck some 400 metres away. I decided to stay to see if the bird would move. There were a few birders who I knew so the time passed quickly. We whittled away the time comparing lenses, a peculiarly male trait when after about an hour of waiting the egret suddenly flew closer, it was still a speck but a much larger speck. None of us had a Hubble telescope so we waited and waited until for whatever reason the egret decided to fly directly at us. I'm glad I stayed.
Great Egret Nikon D300s Nikon 500 F4 1/2000 F8
I shot this with a tripod mounted Nikon 500mm F4 on a D300s. I had just packed away the new Nikon 200mm-500mm F5.6 which I had been test driving earlier in the day. I would have loved to have had the zoom close at hand as the bird came closer and I couldn't get  all of the bird in as it flew over and around us. The lady next to me with a 80mm-200mm zoom probably has even better shots, hell, even someone with a point and shoot would have worked. Don't get me wrong I am not disappointed with these results after all the effort and time I had put in the bird.
When I got home and checked the files in Lightroom I am glad I had underexposed the shot by a stop and half as it reveals good detail in the feathers. The F8 F stop gave me good depth of field and 1/2000 sec shutter speed froze the action.

"It's never too late to start birding"
John Gordon
BC Canada

1 comment:

  1. Congrats I still have yet to get a great shot of him! What a stunning eh? :)