Great Egret, Green Island Wetlands, Iowa

Last night I watched a congregation of about 45-50 Great Egrets in the Green Island Wetlands. Today I do what I normally wouldn’t do, I post a picture that doesn’t meet my own criteria for being published, but I like to show you why a good wildlife observation may not lead automatically to a great image. The egrets were standing pretty close together. There was a lot of interactions between the birds and plenty of great gestures could be captured with the camera. The problem was the terrain, the sticks and stalks from last year’s vegetation that made it difficult to predict a shot and most important, to separate a bird from all the clutter on the ground. The picture below gives you an idea what I mean. There is not a clear subject, even if the incoming egret and the one on the left, who reacts to the arrival of another food competitor, are sharp. There is too much distraction in the picture and even cropping of the image would not have helped much to make this more than a documentary shot.

Believe me, I take these pictures anyway because they are my diary for future reference and for my own memories. It was clear that it needs separation, maybe not necessarily from other birds, but definitely from the clutter of old vegetation. and that’s why the photo above is my favorite of yesterday’s shooting in the wetlands.