Great Egret Reflected

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Great Egret Reflected

I made this image with the rental Nikon 200-500mm VR lens the morning after I rented it.

I saw this Great Egret out in the pond within the range of the lens so I walked out to the edge of the pond to photograph it. I initially set up in landscape orientation then I zoomed out to 500mm, and only had its head and half its neck in the frame! “Oh no, that won’t do!” I thought. I switched to portrait orientation, which fit the whole Egret in the frame, but only half the reflection, and I wanted to get the reflection because it was very clear, and the blue sky and water were gorgeous on this morning.  Next I started pulling my zoom in…400mm, nope, 300mm, nope, 200mm, not quite. I had to back up to get the whole reflection in, and stay at 200mm.  This image isn’t cropped at all.  So, began my learning curve with this lens.

After that week-end I liked the lens so well I bought one,  and have been using it a lot.  I’m on the down side of the learning curve now. 🙂

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 200-500mm VR hired unit| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital film| PS CC 2015

More to come…

A Good Day Birding PtII

Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

There were quite a few opportunities to capture birds in flight while I was out birding this week.
A couple of times there were feeding frenzies right in front of me which allowed me to capture a few neat “flight shots” and a whole lot of near misses.

Here’s the American Robin just as it took flight.

American Robin in Flight

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret in Flight

Brown Pelican hunting for fish

Brown Pelican in Flight

Sea GullSeagull

Sea Gull

Sea Gull

Great Egret

Great Egret in Flight

Northern Mockingbird just after take off

Mockingbird just after take off

Brown Pelican diving- two images; I wish I had timed it so I got the tip of his bill going in the water. Sigh. Timing is everything!

Brown Pelican Dive

Brown Pelican Diving for Fish

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4 + AF-S Nikkor 14eII TC =420mm| Hand-held| Lexar Professional Digital Film

More to come…

Spring, Nature,and the Great Egret

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I spent a morning last week in Santa Rosa watching Egrets, and Herons, building nests, tending nests, and trying to attract a mate at a Rookery right in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Mothers walked their children to school right under them, and traffic flowed on both sides of the street, and the Egrets and Herons were largely oblivious to all but themselves. Great Egrets nest in colonies so there are many, many birds in the trees.

The city is trying to give them some space so they blocked off one lane on each side of the street for a block or so sparing passing cars from being pelted with falling debris, and guano. The street under the Eucalyptus trees they’re nesting in is messy.

In the past when I’ve watch a Great Egret they’ve been very still, quite, and focused on hunting their prey, or I’ve startled them and they’ve flown away. That wasn’t the case on this morning though. The activity scarcely stopped.

Neither did the noise. In breeding season there is quite a lot of squawking, and screeching, and talking. In fact I found them very funny, and amusing.  I laughed out loud many times listening to them.

There were many sorties by the male to gather just the right branch to  build and strengthen the nest.  He will seriously work on attracting a mate once this task is complete. The female lays 4-5 pale blue eggs which take 3-4 weeks to incubate. Both the male and female parents incubate the eggs, and feed the chicks.

During the breeding season the  male Great Egret grows long tail feathers which he  raises and spreads out . I’ve read their plumes were once prized for making ladies hats and they were nearly hunted to extinction.

…and he undulates his long neck, and lifts his head toward the sky to try to attract a mate.

It was a wonderful experience observing this behavior up close, and I have more photos to share in the coming days of  Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets, and Night Herons.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 70-300mm VR