A Great Egreat soaring into the rookery for a landing. He’s headed over a couple of out of focus Wood Storks, neither of which showed any interest at all in his approach. Over the course of a couple of hours, this same Great Egret followed the same approach path over and over again, offering many oppotunities to get him at different angles. This one of him banking show his topside is one of my favorites from the morning.
While many of the smaller birds, like the Cattle Egret from last week, come firing in like a fighter plane, these much larger birds just sail in, flare, and land over a period of several seconds. This gives me a much better chance at getting a good shot like this one.
For several years now, I’ve been using a 600 mm lens for virtually all my bird photos. The 600 is a stupendous lens . . . stupendous quality, stupendously large (as in heavy to carry) and stupendously expensive (let’s not go there). Like the Cattle Egret, this Great Egret was captured with my newest lens, a Nikon 80-400 mm f4.5-5.6 telephoto. Though not quite as fast or as sharp as the Nikon 600 mm f4, it’s turned out to be a great lens for hand held, medium distance bird shots. It’s less than 1/3 the cost of the 600 mm, as well as less than 1/3 the weight. That makes it light enough and compact enough that I can hand hold it, and don’t need to rely on a tripod. This 80-400 is much easier to track birds in flight, meaning I get a lot more keepers. For anyone looking for a more reasonably priced birding lens, the 80-400 is a keeper as well.
Both images captured in April with Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400 mm f4.5-5.6 lens at 400 mm, hand held at 1/3200 sec. f5.6, ISO 400.