Great Egret Tossing Fish

By | July 13, 2019

The Sally Jones West Causeway at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma has been a great place to photograph birds this past week. A Great Egret and a couple of Great Blue Herons are regulars each morning. The Great Egret likes to stand on a dead limb above the water and catch small fish that swim by. It was amazing to watch this bird catch fish and keep its balance. When it speared the fish it would need to bend a long distance to reach the water while holding on to the thin limb.

Great Egret With Fish
Great Egret With Fish
Great Egret Tossing Fish
Great Egret Tossing Fish

The fish it caught were small and it would immediately swallow them making it difficult for me to catch with my camera. After a while I got better and was able to get a few photos of it tossing and eating the small fish.

The Great Egrets I see are usually wading in the shallow waters to catch food. This one was on this same limb each morning for two days. The Egret was very successful. The hour I watched and photographed this bird I only saw it miss once or twice.

How I Got The Shot – Great Egret Tossing Fish

The two photos above are of two different fish. Trying to get a photo of it spearing the fish in the water was difficult. I was close and I couldn’t zoom my lens in and out quick enough. I decided to concentrate on photographing the bird with the fish after it brought it out of the water.

My pickup was parked a short distance from the bird. It wasn’t parked straight out from the bird but to the east with my pickup facing west. This was early in the morning after sunrise.

I had my Fujifilm X-T3 camera resting on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup with a Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens attached with a Fringer EF-FX Pro.

Camera Settings

  • AV Mode
  • Back-button Focus
  • Aperture f5.6
  • ISO 2500
  • Shutter speed – 1/1800 for first photo and 1/2900 for second photo.
  • -0.3 exposure value
  • Auto White Balance
  • Single Point, Continuous Auto Focus
  • Multi Metering
  • Focal Length – 400 mm

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