After seeing so many Egrets on our way to Santa Rosa, I was disappointed when I didn’t get a picture of a single one at Lake Ralphine or Spring Lake. I should have known that I’d get several pictures on the way home at the Colusa or Sacramento National Wildlife Refuges. We didn’t have to wait long, either; this shot of a Great Egret was nearly the first of our shots.
From a distance, and because it was standing in rather light shrubs, I assumed that it was a Snowy Egret, but a close look at the beak indicates reveals it’s definitely a Great Egret.
Through the lens of the camera it’s easy to confuse the two, but when you see them together there can be no doubt which is the Snowy Egret and which is the Great Egret:
the Great Egret dwarfs the Snowy Egret.
Although egrets are becoming more and more common in the Pacific Northwest, I still identify them with California, particularly the Snowy Egret, which is less common the further north you go.
Compared to many birds, they’re a great photographic subject because they’re relatively indifferent to people and because, like the Great Blue Heron, they stay in one place, poised for the moment their prey exposes itself.
As a result, I already have a number of excellent shots of both species. Luckily beauty like this is always striking, no matter how many times you have seen it.