Great Eagret, Green Island Wetlands, Iowa

Yesterday I spent the last two hours before sunset in the Green Island Wetlands. The water level in the Mississippi River has dropped a little bit but many areas are still flooded. The sun came finally out and it was a good evening for wildlife observations and photography. The first Greater Yellowleg has arrived and was searching for food in one of the muddy fields that are part of the area. I saw the first pairs of Wood Ducks and numerous female Red-winged Blackbirds have joined the males , who were already present since several weeks.

But the star of this evening was the first and only Great Egret I watched this season so far. First I saw him standing almost motionless for several minutes between some flooded small trees along the dyke. After a while the bird started moving its neck forth and back and stirred the water with its feet. It was clear, the egret was hunting for a fish. It had his head turned to the east, means the setting sun lit just the back of the head. I made a few clicks anyway. Suddenly the bird turned around, now facing the sun, and moved a few feet to an area where not so many branches were obstructing the view. And than it happened very fast. The clouds opened up a little more and at that moment the egret caught a fish. The metadata of my pictures reveal, from the moment he got it out of the water until the fish was going down its throat only 9 seconds had elapsed. A piece of weed was hanging over his head. Happy egret and happy photographer!

Nikon D750, Sigma 150-600mm/f5-6.3 DG OS HSM S, @600 mm , 1/500 s, f/6.3, ISO200