Today’s post features some of the beautiful Great Egrets (Ardea alba) that I photographed at the Venice Rookery, in Venice, Florida recently. At this time of year, the beautifully white egrets are in great breeding plumage, which includes some nice, long plumes of feathers on the back, and brilliant lime-green “lores”, the patch of skin between the eyes and the beak. These wonderful birds are beautiful any time of the year, but in breeding season, they are so amazing! Here are a few of the many images I captured at the Venice Rookery:
I believe the red berries seen in some of these images are the Brazilian Pepper bushes, which is an invasive in Florida, but I’m not 100% sure. They sure make a great backdrop to the nests, though!
In North America, large numbers of Great Egrets were killed around the end of the 19th century so that their plumes could be used to decorate hats. Numbers have since recovered as a result of conservation measures. Its range has expanded as far north as southern Canada. However, in some parts of the southern United States, its numbers have declined due to habitat loss. Nevertheless, it adapts well to human habitation and can be readily seen near wetlands and bodies of water in urban and suburban areas.
All of the above images were made in one day at the rookery. I photographed there for 3 days, so it is likely that more great egret images will show up in a post or two!
Photo Equipment Used:
- Canon 7D body
- Canon EF500mm, f/4 IS lens
- Gitzo 1258-LVL Carbon Fiber tripod, with Wemberly gimball head
- ISO 800 (all)
- Aperture f/9 (all)
- Shutter varied, from 1/100 sec. to 1/4000 sec.