A Tree Full of Egrets

The final day we were in Santa Rosa I had to decide whether to go back to the Sonoma County Park or Spring Lake State Park. Normally I would have chosen the Sonoma County Park just because there’s usually a lot less people there and I have a chance to see a greater variety of birds, and Acorn Woodpeckers. In the end, though I went back to Spring Lake because I’d been unable to get a shot of the egrets in the tree surrounding the lake the day before.

The day before I’d only seen Snowy Egrets in this tree, and it was hard to get much more than an obscured shot of one, often with only part of a head, or even no head, showing. When I returned this time, though I found a Great Egret, a much larger bird, sitting in the tree with numerous Snowy Egrets. Here’s a portion of that photo,

Great Egret in Tree

a shot I’ve obviously played around with in Photoshop. I like it a lot, particularly when it’s seen full screen on my Cinema display. I’m so used to seeing egrets in the water that seeing them in a tree somehow forces me to look at them differently.

Of course, the very act of photographing a bird seems to have the same effect. For instance, I’d never noticed before looking at the last bunch of shots that a Snowy Egret’s legs were

Egret Staring into Water

dark in the front, and yellow in the back, just the way their upper beak is dark while the lower part of the beak is yellow. I’m also fascinated by the talons/toenails on the feet.

I’ve never seen more than one Snowy Egret at a time in the past, so I was a little surprised, though I probably shouldn’t have been, to realize how distinctive various birds were. I particularly like this egret

Snowy Egret

whose feathers seem to stand on end quite often, something I never observed in any of the other egrets.

4 thoughts on “A Tree Full of Egrets

  1. They’re all good. I love the top one; how did you get the painterly effect on the background with the bird still looking like a photo?

    I love the one with the topknot sticking up!!

  2. That’s the Photoshopping part, Kenju.

    You make a mask for the Egret, then you make changes in the background: several to be exact. You adjust each layer to a different percentage of opacity to control the effects.

  3. loren – brilliant photographs again!! i love that you saw something new in the egret’s legs. those moments are the most magical for me – seeing something new for the first time again! steven

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