When we were photographing last year at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery we saw a lot of Great Egrets with their Breeding Plumage. Great Egrets are of breeding age when they about two years old. As they get into breeding plumage, they have long lacy and delicate plumes on their backs. The eye lores (featherless skin between the bill and eyes) turn from yellow to lime green, and the top of the upper bill turns dark. Also sometimes it seems their neck and other areas look “more feathery”. Below are a few examples of their Breeding Plumage.
The featured image shows a little older set of young Great Egrets. They were just hanging out at the nest waiting for food for when their parents return. Below are a few other Great Egret nests with younger birds showing their “fuzzy” look. The images were shot at 550mm and 600mm.
This Great Egret was at the very top of a tree that was loaded below with other nests of various types of birds. It really stood out against the bright blue sky. Photographed @ 600mm with a Tamron 150-600mm lens.
I found these Great Egrets feeding in a group. You can see they still have some Breeding Plumage and the colorful greenish lore by the eyes. They stayed together for quite a while working an area for food.
Single Egret from group showing breeding plumage better.
It is getting to the time of year when birds will be in breeding plumage. Which is a great time to photograph birds! Especially large wading birds. The wispy feathers and colorful lores add to the images. Looking forward to seeing what we can find. These are some from previous years.
This time of year the Great Egrets are showing their Breeding Plumage. They are great to photograph showing the feathery feathers, long plumes in the back and colorful lore with green around the eyes. Depending on their position, the plumage shows up either more or less. Wait to get interesting angles, which usually does not take long as they are active birds. Also if it is windy, the feathers blow in the wind and spread out more for more impact. They are also large birds which helps fill the frame.