Snowy Egrets at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

I didn’t go to Bear River to get pictures of Snowy Egrets. I can find them much nearer than that, but somehow I still filled up a lot of my memory card with shots of them. They are such a striking bird that I can’t imagine not pointing my camera at them when they’re around.

I doubt I’ll ever get better closeups than the shots I got in Santa Rosa in the last few years, but somehow that doesn’t seem to make these shots any less beautiful.

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Ignoring a Snowy Egret as it stalks a pond

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because you’ve already seen one stalking a pond would make about as much sense as ignoring a beautiful girl in a bikini walking down the beach because you’ve seen one before.

It doesn’t hurt if you can manage to capture them in a different pose,

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one that manages to show a different side of their beauty. I suspect Snowy Egrets have thrived because they’ve mastered the art of killing, stalking their prey like some ninja warrior, striking with a suddenness

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that chills the bones.

White-Faced Ibis at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

I can’t imagine how you could teach high school for 30 years without learning not to trust first appearances. After an inauspicious beginning, I began to see what a treasure the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge really is. I saw many of the birds I had hoped to photograph at Malheur this year but didn’t get to. As I noted earlier, the only White-Faced Ibis I saw at Malheur were flying or were hidden in the tall grass.

That wasn’t a problem at Bear River, as I saw them every time I circled the refuge. Even this shot taken at 5:45 in the morning showed some of the brilliant colors that make White-Faced Ibis so photographic.

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Like the “Horse of a Different Color” in the Wizard of Oz, the Ibis constantly changes color depending on the quality and direction of the light.

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In fact, one of the biggest problems in adjusting photographs of White-Faced Ibis is deciding whether the color balance is correct or not, especially when surrounded by brilliant water reflections.

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My favorite shot turned out to be this one, even though the ibis looks less colorful than it does in the other shots. Having the Snowy Egret next to the ibis, though, made it easier to determine the true color balance in the shot.

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My only complaint about Bear River is that there’s a single lane road around the main section and there aren’t many places where you can stop and wait for the right light. I’m pretty sure I missed a chance for some great shots when a car was impatiently waiting for me to move on. That said, it’s still one of the best places I’ve ever been to get shots of birds I love but never see in the Puget Sound region.