There is a Snowy Egret that hangs out at Sweetwater Wetlands, particularly early in the morning and late in the afternoon. It has driven me crazy for months because, although it’s frequently there, it absolutely refuses to let me get close enough to it to be able to make a decent image. It is extremely timid and usually flies whenever it sees me coming, sometimes at absurd distances — even 100 meters or more.
So, consider how astonished I was the other day when I was able to approach within a few meters and take its photograph.
I honestly can’t account for its changed attitude. The egret was engrossed with fishing in the wetlands’ creek but I’ve observed that behavior before and its hunger has never deterred it from fleeing at the sight of me.
Perhaps it was the weather. It was a cold and blustery day with intermittent light showers. Possibly, the bird was simply reluctant to fly in that wind and rain. It may also have been the absence of other people. I had the wetlands all to myself that day, courtesy of the weather.
But, I’m grateful, whatever the reason for the bird’s cooperation. Snowy Egrets are beautiful birds and they are infrequent residents of southern Arizona. Indeed, one has to wonder what they’re doing here at all, given that they prefer aquatic habitats. The answer lies in the fact that we are actually not that far from places — like the Southern California coast and the Sea of Cortez in Baja — where these birds exist in great numbers. A few of them have found their way inland, borne by the winds, no doubt, and they’ve found locations here and there where they can survive.
I’m delighted with the opportunity to photograph this beautiful bird.
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, aperture priority setting, ISO 2000, f6.3 @ 1/1000.