As I said, I did see several birds on Wednesday’s walk. The most unusual around here was this Great Egret that, naturally enough, took off as soon as I pointed a camera at him. I managed to get several shots with much better exposure when he landed a short distance away, but this first one turned out to be my favorite shot:

Great Egret Taking Off

As I was stalking the egret, I flushed a Harrier Hawk which suddenly flashed upward in front of my face, nearly hitting me with his wings. I suspect he was even more surprised than me that I had walked right up behind him. I missed the first couple of shots, and since I was actually stalking the Egret, I had my camera set to bracket exposures, which works well when photography white birds because it insures that not all the shots are completely washed out. It doesn’t work nearly as well when the bird is flying as rapidly as this harrier was, however. Still, I like this shot a lot, even if the wing tips are blurred because it was slightly underexposed:

Harrier Hawk

9 thoughts on “Flushed”

  1. Wow! Fine portraits of birds in flight. I am fascinated by the intricacy of the wing patterns, the light coming through the egret’s wing feathers, the deft maneuvering of the Harrier Hawk. Your photos have a distinctive poetic quality to them. For me, there is something about your composition that evokes a lyrical sense of narrative.

  2. The wings on that Great Egret are absolutely fantastic, how they are patterned and with different gradations of transparency, and then with the ripples on the water… great stuff, very alive.

  3. Keep walking, keep looking, and buy a very expensive camera and lens, Sue.

    Awareness is most important, though, Sue. But for birds you have to have a good telephoto. On the other hand, a telephoto lens makes it much harder to get good pictures of scenics, flowers, etc.

  4. Beautiful shots, both of them.

    Our harriers will be starting to come back soon. I could sit and watch them hunt for hours…

  5. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, inspired and awed by the photography, the observations and the literary selections. This is a wonderful offering, which I’ve passed on to others: fellow teachers, writers, photographers, birders, general naturalists.
    The Great Egret and Great Blue Heron, perhaps more common here in New England than where you are, always bring joy. Their local roosts here are frequently visited, discussed and fiercely protected, at least by some of us.
    Have a wonderful day and thank you.

  6. Great Blue Herons are quite common here, at least where there are still wetlands and tidal flats, but Egrets generally don’t come this far north. They’re mostly found in Oregon and California here on the West Coast.

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