How Great Thou Art...

     As September arrives on the Broward, one of the anticipated birds that I love to photograph is the Great Egret.  The coming fall season provides great opportunities for capturing this bird. However, the all white coloration does present a challenge to properly expose with the doohickey. How do you tell a Great Egret from the other white Egrets?  Yellow beak, black feet!. The smaller Snowy Egret has just the opposite, black beak and yellow feet.

     Per Wikipedia, The Great Egret (Ardea alba) is also known as the common egret, large egret or great white egret. The four subspecies are found in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and southern Europe.  When observed in flight, they are slow and graceful and one of my favorite subjects (the Editor calls them the Bride of the Broward). During breeding season they exhibit delicate ornamental feathers on the back and have an emerald green coloration around the eyes. In 1953, the great egret in flight was chosen as the symbol of the National Audubon Society, which was formed in part to prevent the killing of birds for their feathers. I often see one particular Great Egret in its favorite fishing hole close to my dock. It just stands and waits until the unsuspecting prey (fish, minnows, frogs and reptiles) swim by and then it strikes with a quick lunge, stabbing the prey with its beak.

     When I see this bird flying by the words of the epic hymn, “How Great Thou Art” come to my mind. The power and grace of their wings remind me of the power of and grace of our Almighty Maker. We have recently seen the power of a storm and the devastation it can bring. Now it is time for all us more fortunate ones to exhibit the grace and power of love in giving to our fellow Americans who recently weathered the storm.  Blessings, Harry. 

A graceful and elegant bird, the Great Egret is one of my favorite birds to photograph.

Few birds can match the beauty of these birds in flight...

Found in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and southern Europe, these large egrets with wingspans of six feet are making a strong comeback after being hunted primarily for their feathers.

Great Egret in breeding plumage, note the green around the eyes...

A yellow beak and black feet distinguish the egret from its smaller cousin, the snowy egret.

The Snowy Egret (right) has "happy feet" that are yellow and the beak is black

The all white feathers present a challenge to properly expose with the an itch?

This Great Egret sits in its favorite fishing hole and waits for the food to come by

The grace and beauty of their wings make me sing "How Great Thou Art"!


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