Saturday, 31 December 2016

Herons and Egrets in flight

     Photographs of birds in flight are difficult to achieve, it seems to me, and with the basic equipment that I have, almost impossible. I am a birder, first, foremost and always; photography is entirely secondary to my quest to see, study and understand birds, although I am always very happy when I get some decent shots to cement the experience.
     My good friend, Franc Gorenc, whom you have recently met through the pages of this blog, is almost a polar opposite. He is constantly searching for the perfect shot, especially of a creature animated by feeding or mating, or defending a territory or engaged in any other natural behaviour. He seeks to record life as it is in myriad interesting situations. 
     Franc made available to me all the photographs from our recent trip to Cuba that he felt were worthy of keeping, and encouraged me to use them in any way that I see fit. A generous gesture indeed!
     He captured numerous images of herons and egrets in flight that impressed me. When we have students visit our bird banding operation at SpruceHaven we always go into considerable detail about the various feather tracts used in flight, having the advantage of course of a bird in the hand. Franc's pictures are a fine complement to this study, and armed with a rudimentary knowledge of the principles of avian flight, they facilitate the understanding of birds as superb masters of the air.
     The juvenile form of Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea is white. Here is one coming in to land.

     Adults are the familiar slate blue with a violaceous neck and head. This bird is ascending.

     And this individual has just landed.

     This individual is calling in mid-air.

     Great Egret Ardea alba was a common species that we saw every day. Here is a series of varied flight shots.

     I think everyone can agree that Franc has captured this large bird in many different phases of its flight, revealing the interplay of light and shade as it soars through the air.
     Snowy Egret Egretta thula was also common.


     I am sure you have enjoyed seeing Franc's pictures as much as I have enjoyed bringing them to you.


  1. Both species ñives in my country but blue heron is rare and very localizated, is a dream for me to see one and take a pic of them

  2. Those are indeed fine photographs David. As one who wields a camera I understand only too well the difficulties of capturing birds in flight against ever changing backgrounds, the light, and the often unpredictable pattern of the actual flight. Very nice work and wonderful generosity displayed by your pal Franc.

    As to here, it is 4pm and going dark as we prepare fpor tomorrow's invasion. Luckily we found a forgotten bottle of prosecco in the corner of the garage, already chilled and fit for drinking after brushing off a few cobwebs. I shall drink to your's and Miriam's health very soon.

    All the very best for 2017.

  3. Wow !! Fantastic photos !!
    Happy New Year 2017 !!

  4. Beautiful flying birds, have a wonderful new year in 2017.

  5. HI Both, another interesting post with one of my favourite birds, the Great White Egret as we call it, super images from Franc, not an easy bird to get decent images from as the white tends to burn out. Also super images of the Little Blue Heron. A Happy New Year to you both, Regards John

  6. Those are amazing pictures of birds in flight!

  7. Capturing birds in flight IS challenging, and I think, complements what is written quite often. Thanks for sharing those.

  8. #4 is my favourite...............

  9. Lovely flight shots David.
    Happy New Year to you both.
    John and Sue.

  10. very beautiful heron an d egret David.
    Happy new year with great pictures and nice birds.

  11. These photos are all amazing. If I managed to take just one photo like this, I would feel elated for a long time. :)
    Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!

  12. Franc certainly does do an excellent job taking photos of birds in flight..
    Happy New Year.

  13. That guy who has just landed, I like the way they pull up before the claws touch the branch.

  14. Wonderful photos of birds in flight. I wish you a wonderful 2017 years!

  15. Great as you have photographed the heron in flight. The egret is magnificent and the blue heron.