Taken from a long distance, down the side of a swamp. The fighting for territory has begun. It will continue until both sides are tired and the young have grown large.
Below a Great Egret was moving around right below an active great Blue Heron nest. And, both adults were home at the time. An Egret mistake, but it’s early in the season and both sides will learn from this.
It was the noise that caught my attention. I was too far to even try to get closer so I just shot the encounter this way.
A Great Egret will fight with the larger Blue Heron. Below you can see each trying to get the best position. While the Egret is below for them this is actually a good spot to stab upwards if needed.
Most of the time the Great Blue near the chick lets their mate do the work. However here they both were warning this Egret, strongly.
Ultimately the Great Egret was forced back and finally off the lower branch.
As loud and violent as this encounter looked it was all posture and noise. Both Herons and Egrets are top predators in a swamp well aware of when to stay and when to go. Most times the interloper will go. Chicks alone are fair game, but until they are larger an adult is around.
Normally I would not shoot this far, but it is an interesting series to see. The sun had set by now also. I may only get two or three chances a year to photograph interaction like this.
Besides, it was the only angle to catch this. Ellen was right there (out of the images) but could not catch much because the action was behind the tree and over the swamp water. She did catch a few which I’m sure she will publish soon.
Not great shots, but certainly interesting.
Charleston, South Carolina.