For its distinctive plumage and its energetic feeding behavior, the Reddish Egret is one of my favorite birds. In contrast to its blue-gray body, breeding adults have shaggy rufous plumes on head and neck which fly around like rock-star hair as the bird actively pursues a meal.
While other herons and egrets prefer to move slowly through shallow water to stalk their prey, the Reddish Egret takes a more energetic approach. Looking sometimes graceful and sometimes ungainly, it rushes actively about, wings upraised to form a canopy to shade the water.
Photographing it while it engages in its frenetic feeding “dance” is challenging but entertaining. Trying to maintain focus on the eye while the bird’s head bobs this way and that is quite the test for a bird photographer. Luckily, over the course of a several days, a few cooperative birds gave me plenty of chances to get it right.
Keeping an eye out for an unsuspecting fish:
Creating a bit of shade, the better to see you!