Egrets of the Big Bend

One wouldn’t ordinarily associate egrets with the desert.  But occasionally during the migratory seasons that is what happens.  It is not unusual to see large flocks of Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis), in the Big Bend National Park and surrounding areas.   Their favorite places to perch, at least in my experience, are the ocotillo plants.  Their large, tall, but thorny, limbs and branches make ideal places for they to roost.  They are quite a bit smaller than their cousins, the Great Egret.  But nevertheless, they are equally beautiful.

Cattle Egret in Ocotillo

These photos were taken several years ago, on one of our many journeys to that beautiful area of the United States.  As you can see, they look glorious against the backdrop of a clear blue, desert sky.

As we were approaching the western entrance to Big Bend NP, we noticed as we pulled up to the kiosk to pay our entry fee, that there were two of these Cattle Egrets sitting on the roof.  Of course, our car disturbed them, and they flew only a distance of about 30 yards away.  I was able to easily photograph them from the car with my Canon EOS 7D and 100-400mm lens.

Cattle Egret in Ocotillo

Cattle Egret in Ocotillo

Cattle Egret really in the Ocotillo

This next final photo was shot, I believe, at even an earlier date.  I know that I was using my old EOS 40D at that time.  I like this photo with a backdrop of the mountains of the Big Bend.

Cattle Egret in Ocotillo with Chisos Mountains in background.

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  Click on any of them to see an enlargement.

For preview or to buy copies of my book, click the link on the right side of this page.  For autographed copies contact me at

Happy Birding!!

26 thoughts on “Egrets of the Big Bend

  1. loving my home state of Arizona, my favorite shot is the egret on the Ocotillo..those who have not seen it in bloom, have missed a lifetime of beauty. The bird is perfect on it..have a terrific Tuesday.

  2. I especially like those last two images Bob – the last egret in the ocotillo for its graphic lines and the setting of the egret with the Chisos Mountains in the background. We see egrets here too – in our desert. As long as there’s water, they will come…

  3. Looks like we’ve both got egrets on our minds…. I had no idea they were found in this area…. Thanks fo a great post.

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