The Magnificent Great Egret

Yesterday as we were driving near the Concho River in Middle Concho Park, I spotted this Great Egret, (Ardea alba), hunting in the grass and reeds along the opposite bank, about 125 yards away.  I always love to photograph these magnificent birds.  I was able to swing the car along the river bank so I could get the images from my side window.  We watched (and photographed) him for several minutes, until he left for better hunting grounds.

Great Egret - on the hunt

Great Egret - departure

Disappointed to see the egret leave, we continued on.  After a while, we came upon this female Ladder-backed Woodpecker, (Picoides scalaris), hanging under a mesquite tree limb.  He seemed, and sounded, like he was quite busy.  I grabbed a few shots, then we went on our way and left her alone to do her feeding or hammering or whatever she was enjoying doing.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker - female

As we continued on our way around the park we saw several other species, though none that sparked my creative juices to photograph.  Then just as we were ready to leave I spotted this female Golden-fronted Woodpecker in the top of a tree, singing her heart out.  For this shot, I had been out of the car stretching my legs, and had my camera in hand.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker - female

So ended another day of enjoying the outdoors and getting a few more photographs.  Click on any image to see an enlargement.

Great Egret (both photos):  Canon EOS 7d with Canon 500mm f4 lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  1/1000 sec. @ f8, -0.3EV, ISO 250.  Center-weighted metering and aperture priority.  Hand-held with aid of Puffin’ Pad window support.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker:  Canon EOS 7d with Canon 100-400mm zoom lens.   1/1250 sec. @ f8, -0.3EV, ISO 400.  Center-weighted metering and aperture priority.  Hand-held.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker:  Canon EOS 7d with Canon 100-400mm zoom lens.  1/500 sec. @ f11, ISO 320.  Spot metering and aperture priority.  Hand-held.

41 thoughts on “The Magnificent Great Egret

  1. Great photographs and beautiful birds, Bob! I notice that you keep all of your camera settings for the shots you take. Is this deliberate? Is there a reason for it? I have never kept the settings for my photographs but have seen others that do. Should I be doing so?



    • I don’t really keep my settings. They are automatically imbedded in the camera data. I publish the settings because a number of my photography bloggers want to know how I shot each one. So I go into my files, right click on the image, the information pops up.
      It is not a bad idea to keep track of your settings, as it may be useful when you want see how you shoot under different conditions.
      Back in the old days, before all of this techie digital stuff, I used to write done the settings I used.

  2. Bob, Yesterday, my husband and I rode bikes along the “Mission Reach” of the River Walk. On one cypress tree near Blue Star, we saw one Great Egret, 10 Night Herons and one Cormorant. I’m going to post the photo to my blog before too long. Amazing! You’ll have to come take photos of the birds in San Antonio. (Pretty please!) We got ’em! I highly recommend the San Antonio Botanical Garden for a great variety! As always, I *love, love, love* your blog and your photos. WOW. Cheers, Denise

    • I really, really appreciate your kind words, Denise. I have been to the Botanical Garden on a previous trip, and I agree, it is an amazing place. Unfortunately, it was before I really got into photographing birds. At that time I was into photographing flowers, etc. And that particular day, it was raining so I didn’t get all that many of those either, even though parts of the garden are inside. So it would be nice to make a return visit, but I don’t know when that might be. I am heading back to Big Bend at the end of this month, so it will be later if I make a trip there. I will look look forward to seeing your photos. Thanks so much for your interest in my work. I certainly do appreciate it.

  3. I especially enjoyed the take-off shot of the egret Bob – a bird that’s unusual in my parts. I’ve only been able to photograph the species twice. And I’ve never even seen a ladder-backed. You do get some very nice variety.

  4. I love them all Bob. (: I think the female ladder back looks like her feathers have an antique affect, which I love!

    Happy weekend. Winter has arrived in the form of 6 inches of heavy snow and temps dipping to 0°F! We’ve only had a few of these winter moments this year and I love that there have been so few! xo

    • Hi Melissa, glad you love the pix. I never thought about her feathers having an antique effect, but I see what you mean.
      Happy weekend to you, too. It is cold here again, too, only getting to around 40 degrees today with a windchill in the 30s. No snow, though. I know, cold here, is like chilly to you. 🙂

      Stay warm, 🙂

  5. Love all shots Bob! Especially the female golden-fronted woodpecker. I’ve tried to capture woodpecker shots, but they are hard to get! Soon as I here & find him/her, he’s moving on jumping to another spot on the tree to hammer away.

  6. Lovely images, in beautiful lighting. Your woodpeckers seem to be much bolder than ours… it would be hard to take photos like that over here!

  7. The egret is hard to realize how big they really are..and the woodpeckers are great.Love the female shot as she seems to have cared less that she was on stage..Once again, thanks for sharing..It just amazes me at the varieties birds we have here in the US..

  8. Bob I love the egrets also but my favorite is the ladder backed woodpecker. We have one that visits us and it has a red spot on the top of its head. I am guessing that is the male. I don’t think we have seen the female. I was interested to know that the egrets eat tad poles. Do other birds eat them as well. We had some to disappear from our fish pond and wondered where the went. Thanks as always for the nice pictures. 🙂

    • Hi Carolyn,
      The Ladder-backed Woodpecker with the red spot on the head is the male. My wife just commented that the female, like the one in my photos, is drab looking. I would have to agree with her. The male, as in most (but not all) species is usually much prettier. As for your other question, I would believe that there are many shore birds that would feast on tad poles, but I am no authority on that. Thank you so much, for the comment and the compliments.

  9. Bob I just love your photographs. Last time I was in Florida at my favorite birdwatching pond spot, I saw an egret greedily gobbling the fattest bullfrog tadpoles you ever saw. It was interesting to watch. Not so interesting for the tads.

    Keep up the good work. It’s fun from the receiving end.

    • Katherine, it is so nice to hear from you again. I always appreciate your comments. I am so glad that you are enjoying my blogs and photos. I’ll try not to disappoint. 🙂

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