A Great Egret in flight makes hardly a sound. They can be surprising fast, but usually they push slowly with their powerful wings. During any given day probably 1/2 the Egrets we see are missed opportunities because we didn’t hear them in time.
Catching a good photograph of a flight has the usual problems of getting focus and speed. However because they are such a large bird the focus ‘spot’ is critical also. Mid body or shoulder is best for me. If not either the front or back of the bird is out of focus. They are that big during a close up photo.
I prefer to be a little further away than these shots just for that reason. This was a 10 shot series, maybe 3 were decent focus.
Recently many of our photographs have been taken in the marshes by the Ashley or Stono rivers. Seeing the landscape up close is much different than a wide view of the marshes themselves.
The image above is a line where the canebrake, grasses, and canal meet. For a size perspective click to enlarge the photo. You will see both a Great Blue Heron and Great Egret in the canal.
This heron above was in the same general area. Cane in the background dwarfs the heron, who was probably almost 5 feet tall.
There is no way to walk across this marsh, however based on an app on my phone I can estimate it is about 1 mile wide, maybe a 3 mile walk around the main dike. The marsh does continue for miles down the Ashley river.
Above an egret lands in the canebrake. Again a large bird, but about to disappear.
The last photograph here makes it clear to me why getting the images in a marsh is so satisfying to me. The area is huge, beautiful and hostile at the same time. Capturing just a single bird here is a privilege.