Birds of Bear River MBR – Snowy Egrets

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Recently I spent two days in a row photographing birds at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (aka Bear River National Wildlife Refuge) in northern Utah and found plenty of birds to aim my lens at. Going to the refuge means getting up at o’dark hundred and leaving by shortly after 5 am to get there as the sun comes up but it is worth the trip. I even saw the partial eclipse of the moon.

Snow Egrets (Egretta thula) are numerous in the refuge during spring, summer and fall, yesterday there were large numbers of them on the west side of the auto tour loop fishing in a drainage canal along with Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons and White-faced Ibis.

I photographed the Snowy Egret above as it prepared to land, the lovely green of cattails and golden tones of last years phragmites made for a beautiful background. This egret shows a touch of the peachy-pink lores typical of this species during breeding season in front of the eye.

Snowy Egret about to land – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I wasn’t able to figure out what all the birds were hunting for but I was more than glad to take advantage of the opportunity to get images of them. While I found Snowy Egrets fairly easy to approach in Florida they aren’t as approachable here in Utah so I am always happy to see and photograph them when I get the chance.

I photographed the Snowy Egret above in the early part of May. I loved how well it shows the plumes on the back and how the occipital plumes are raised. There were quite a few Snowy Egrets and one Great Egret fishing in the pond that morning.

I never know exactly where I will find Snowy Egrets on the refuge but usually if you find one there are several more nearby. This egret flew past me with the golden tips of last years phragmites and the distant mountains in the background. It sure shows those “Golden Slippers” off! It shouldn’t be long before we start seeing their young hunting along with the adults in the marshy areas of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.

Snowy Egret in a drainage canal – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 400, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 350mm, natural light

Snowy Egret fishing in a small retention pond – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/3000, ISO 800, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Snowy Egret in flight – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/3200, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Mia McPherson, OntheWingPhotography.com

Mia McPherson

Mia McPherson

Mia McPherson is a nature lover, wildlife watcher and an avian photographer. Mia first become serious about bird photography when she moved to Florida in 2004. Her recent move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and photographing them. With so many birds species there easily accessible it wasn’t long before she was hooked. By learning more about each species, she can anticipate their behaviour and create opportunities to obtain ever better images of those species.

Mia McPherson

Mia McPherson

Mia McPherson is a nature lover, wildlife watcher and an avian photographer. Mia first become serious about bird photography when she moved to Florida in 2004. Her recent move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and photographing them. With so many birds species there easily accessible it wasn’t long before she was hooked. By learning more about each species, she can anticipate their behaviour and create opportunities to obtain ever better images of those species.

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