As we walked along the narrow marina dock at Queens Lake, me adjusting my camera settings and Jen leading the way, Jen whispered, “Hey look”!!! There on center stage, below the wooden bridge, standing ankle deep in running water, just above a tiny waterfall, with the main spotlight focused on her was the Great White Egret!
What a photographic opportunity. The graceful and elegant bird put on a private show for the two of us. Like a prima ballerina she crossed the stage with perfect balance. She strutted her stuff at times, more like a Vegas show girl.
I kept taking pictures, excited about each and every shot, not knowing what might come next. Moments of the performance were dark and tragic for the small fish that she was preying upon. This shot captures the final climactic act for the poor, little fish.
Artistically speaking, I love how the water sparkles like diamonds; how the bright white egret contrasts with the dark waterfall to create ultimate lights and darks, and how the stage brought out this magnificent bird’s personality. Usually egrets are skittish birds, aware and on guard. But this was her moment and we were simply her audience.
I can understand why John James Audubon was enchanted by these majestic and elegant birds. Around the turn of the 19th century these birds were heavily hunted for their plumage. Thanks to organizations and conservation groups like the early Audubon Societies, the Great White Egret was saved from extinction.
The Great White Egret became the logo of the National Audubon Society. It has become one of my favorite birds to watch and photograph. Soon I hope to produce a number of paintings featuring egrets. I hope you enjoyed seeing these photographs and reading about our unique experience. It was one of those magical moments that we will always remember.