I have seen this before, but never captured the sequence of events. This is unusual behavior, there are plenty of sticks in easier locations.
Great Egrets are just claiming the good nesting sites. Once a location belongs to a bird they stay and protect it until a mate is chosen to help.
The nest building starts but the Egret will not go far. And here is where this series came to be.
The perfect stick was floating near and this Egret could not resist. So he jumped from the Cypress tree and swooped down to snatch the stick from the air and return immediately.
The entire sequence was complete in less time than it took to write this.
I was fortunate enough to be standing near and recognize what he was about to do. I did not get the jump from the nest. I started shooting as the Egret pulled up before hitting the water.
Flying above the surface the bird grabbed at the branch and kept flying.
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