The spot this Great Egret pair have chosen doesn’t look like much despite a lot of activity bringing and re-arranging sticks.
They have a ways to go before this will hold an egg. This may be why some Great Egrets will aggressively steal nests from other birds.
They spend a lot of time posturing and pushing. Other pairs that I have observed appear to be about the same size but the male of this couple is considerably larger, and pushier.
Every stick that comes to the site gets moved two or three times.
Time out for a few words then a quick trip for another stick.
These photographs were taken in the late morning with the sun behind the Great Egrets. This provided nice light through the wings but leaves their heads in shadow. Once again out in the pond would be the ideal place to stand.
Ignoring the flurry of mating and nesting activity in the pond behind him this Great Egret enjoyed the afternoon sun on his own. His long feather plumes of breeding season are neatly tucked in but he can’t hide that neon green face patch.
Lichen and moss add a little interest to early spring photographs before the trees have leafed out.
A group of about twenty Great Egrets have taken over an area of the Audubon Swamp recently cleared of invasive cattails and other weeds. Some have started nests and others are still concentrating on their flirting skills.
I got to this spot about a half hour before sundown when there wasn’t quite enough light for sharp shots at this distance. The favored trees where most of the Great Egret mating dance activity was going on are facing the other side of the open water with no human access points.
A few of the Egrets did stop and pose in clearer areas, before they looped around again to impress potential mates.
A number of wading birds have returned to this marsh area in the last few weeks. The numbers of Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons had gone down to just one or two that were easy to see the last few times I was here.
Today a half dozen of both the Great Blues and Egrets were in and out of a canal area that is conducive to full body photos.
The reeds that make up most of the marsh are slowly sinking as winter progresses, making it a little easier to see birds approaching and where they land.