Reflections

Herons and egrets were everywhere at Lake Temescal Park in Oakland, CA.  On my early morning walk around the lake, I counted 10 juvenile or adult Black-crowned Night Herons.

An adult Black-crowned Night Heron posed over still water.  Two decorative white plumes trail down its dark back.

An adult Black-crowned Night Heron posed over still water. Two decorative white plumes trail down its dark back.

A juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron walked into the photo I was taking of the Great Egret and its reflection.

A juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron walked into the photo I was taking of the Great Egret and its reflection.  The heron must have been perched nearby but starting moving toward the egret as its larger cousin moved closer to the shore.  Maybe the little heron was hoping for a stolen bit of fish or frog.

It's difficult to photograph white birds in bright sun; I think the reflection actually gives better contrast.

It’s difficult to photograph white birds in bright sun; I think the reflection actually gives better contrast.

I wondered why there were so many herons and egrets on this smallish lake until I saw the success the fishermen were having this morning.

Both of these species are “sit and wait” predators, but the smaller heron is by far the more patient of the two.  It sits completely still, never moving anything but its head occasionally, while the egret stares at the water for just a few minutes in one area before moving to a new one.

14 thoughts on “Reflections

    • Thanks, Judy. This bird is the perfect subject for photos like this. They are so motionless, and apparently tolerant of human presence in this particular location!

  1. Great photos! I love the one with the two heron species together. And yes, it’s difficult to avoid the whites getting blown out on sunny days. I wish I knew how to do that!

    • I think I should have underexposed the photo to capture the white correctly, but I was busy trying to get both birds in the photo and didn’t check the product before leaving the site.

    • Thanks, Montucky. Isn’t it great when both the subject (bird) and the water cooperate (still, with no waves for once) to give the perfect reflected image?!

  2. Wonderful shots, Sue. I especially love the first one. I have tried many times to get shots of Great Egrets and I find it almost impossible to get a good shot of their body. The white is so bright and there are few details. I think you are right that the reflection shows greater contrast, because the white is not so blown out.

    • I probably took 30 shots of those herons along the shoreline that morning, and 10 of those were this one bird posing in the extremely still water next to the shore. I love it when you have to work hard to choose the one good image from a whole bunch!! I should have checked the Great Egret image before leaving him because I could have corrected the blown-out white then, instead of trying to fix it in Photoshop later.

  3. Pingback: the heron and the iris | Back Yard Biology

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