Sunday, September 4, 2011

Great Egret

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Great Egret, Mead Gardens
Great Egrets [gallery] are beautiful and graceful birds.  They are large egrets, almost the size of a Great Blue Heron, but they are all white with yellow beak and black legs and feet.  They are larger than Snowy Egrets and Cattle Egrets, making Great Egrets easily distinguishable from them. In Florida, the Great Egret can sometimes be confused with the white morph of a Great Blue Heron, but the herons are larger with a thicker bill and grey legs.

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Great Egret, Viera Wetlands
These are absolutely beautiful birds, even though they are extremely common, I never tire of photographing them.  Because they're all white, they can be a challenge to photograph.  Morning and cloudy days are the best days to photograph them.  When the sun gets too high, there can be so much contrast that you can easily overexpose their feathers.  Shoot with the sun behind you if you can help it, and you will probably need to dial in some exposure compensation.  I will sometimes need to dial in -1 stop exposure compensation to avoid overexposing the feathers.

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Great Egret, Orlando Wetlands Park
Great Egrets can be seen throughout most of the United States, especially in southern states and the east and west coasts.  In Central Florida, you're likely to see them anywhere there's water, even in retention ponds near residential areas.  I often photograph them at Mead GardensLake Lotus ParkViera WetlandsOrlando Wetlands Park, and Merritt Island.

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Great Egret, Mead Gardens
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Great Egret, Orlando Wetlands Park
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Great Egret, Merritt Island
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Great Egret, Merritt Island

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