From all the egrets and herons I have observed throughout the years, Reddish Egrets are assuredly the ones putting one of the best hunting shows. I recently had the chance to capture a long hunting dance in the Florida blue waters surf. As a reminder, whoever signs up for both a Spoonbill (Feb 22-23 or May 2-3) and an Osprey tour (Mar 28-29) gets a $300 discount on the Osprey one!

Reddish Egret Running - Sarasota Bay
Reddish Egret Running In The Bay – Sarasota Bay, Florida
ISO 1000 | f/8 | 1/2500 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II coupled with the 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

I have long striven to create the image above. The running motion has always been a well sought after prize in my book. The difficulty is to obtain a nice running motion with the wings up, fully extended and well lit. If you can get a front foot out of the water and a back foot water splash, you are golden! 🙂

Reddish Egret Landing
Reddish Egret Landing In The Waves – Sarasota Bay, Florida
ISO 1000 | f/8 | 1/2500 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II coupled with the 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

During their hunting dance, Reddish Egrets will run, volt-face and jump up and down. The image above is the short landing after a big jump in the air. This bird is extremely good at spotting fish in the shallow waters. For some reason, this egret was well at ease hunting in the surf. While not being what I have commonly observed, it made for impressive spouts of action among the crashing waves. I particularly enjoy the water splashes from the wave bumping the sand bar. Put together with the bird, there is a beautiful diagonal going from top right to bottom left.

Reddish Egret Flaring Wings
Reddish Egret Flaring Its Wings – Sarasota Bay, Florida
ISO 500 | f/5.6 | 1/3200 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II coupled with the 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

The wings-flared-up hunting motion is the trademark of the dancing Reddish Egret! Whether the bird does this to better spot the fish or cox it into going into a specific direction, it is not all clear and there are different theories on the topic. In any case, it is always a very enjoyable sight.

Florida Ospreys Photography Tour – $1,490

March 28th-29th 2020 / limit 5 people – 2 openings

Florida Osprey Photography Tour

3 boat rides on a pristine cypress trees lake. Many nests are at eye level, allowing shooting from up close in a natural habitat. No big lens needed! An ideal setup for beginners… 2 working lunch sessions with lunch included. $300 deposit. If you also sign up for a Spoonbill tour you are entitled to a $300 discount on this tour. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,390

February 22nd-23rd 2020 / limit 6 people – 3 openings

May 2nd-3rd 2020 / limit 6 people – 2 openings

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

2 working lunches and 3 boat rides to the absolute best rookery to photograph spoonbills with breeding colors. $250 deposit. Breeding colors are a bit more intense in February, while May is likely to have new fledglings in the open. Also sign up for the Osprey tour and get a $300 discount on the Osprey one. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com

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Comments (4)

  1. Reply

    Steve, Breathtaking photos. Very nice work. I use a long prime lens as well and I always tell people who ask me about it, and they ask me about it all the time, “It gets me close to the action.” Your prime certainly did that for you here!

    • Steven Blandin

      Reply

      Thank you for the good words Dave! Good equipment definitely helps 🙂

      • Indeed it does, Steve, but one of the things I’ve learned: passion, drive, patience, knowledge, field craft, technique, etc. count for a lot, too. I think sometimes folks rely too much and focus too much on gear and not those other very important, if not more important, things.

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